Monument to the Alphabet

Fri 26th February – Sat 20th March 2010.

Goth on Bus is pleased to present Monument to the Alphabet, a solo exhibition by the British artist James Irwin. Irwin is also a member of the London collective Everything is Number, and as Goth on Bus reaches it’s first anniversary, it is a pleasure to welcome him back for his second exhibition at the space.

Following their display at the Kinetica Art Fair in Marylbone, Irwin has installed two recent works which form an integral part of his research on the innovative MFA in Computational Studio Arts programme at Goldsmiths College.

The eponymous Monument to the Alphabet, 2009, consists of sixteen fluorescent fixings mounted on the wall, replacing the gallery lighting. Visitors are invited to interact with the installation through a plinth mounted interface and, by using a sliding mechanism, can instantly reconfigure the lighting in order to create characters from the English alphabet.

The second work in the show, ON/OFF(OFF/ON), 2009, is a single white neon. Visitors may engage with this work via remote control, turning each word off (and it’s opposite on), or each word on (and it’s opposite off).

Irwin’s work is posited in the gap between ‘new media art’ and ‘high art’, and by using tropes from both (sculptural plinths, neon and an interactive element), attempts to render the gap non-existant. He describes the work as being made in ‘response to throw-away status updates on Facebook and Twitter’ and as such Monument to the Alphabet sits as a direct challenge to a viewer/user attempting to write sentances using one six foot letter at a time, particularly given the difficulty in looking directly at the lights themselves. However in contrast to this, it is the letter-forms that illuminate the space with a cool white glow, transforming the gallery into a spiritual space, similar to the work of Dan Flavin, giving the alphabet a kind of religious status.

Goth on Bus is a non-profit experimental arts space in Greenwich, London.

Goth on Bus, 139 Greenwich South Street, London SE10 8NX
Thursday, Friday and Saturday 1200 – 1800.

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