At Frieze Masters this year, Goodman Gallery
dedicates their entire booth to Willem Boshoff
, one of South Africa’s best known conceptual artists. Boshoff’s works examine the meaning and translation of language, and the installation Blind Alphabet
continues this theme—trying to create a physical experience for visitors that mimics the experience of blindness and even situates the blind as the “experts”. As Boshoff describes:
“To put sighted people at a disadvantage I needed to impose upon them a sense of the disappointment blind people suffer when they are restricted. The way I ‘blind’ sighted visitors to the artwork is to hide the sculptures in small boxes, under wire mesh. The art gallery’s signs reading ‘Don't Touch’ prevent them from opening the boxes, so that they are overcome by frustration. Furthermore, the lid on every box is inscribed with a text in Braille, which is foreign to most sighted people. Then, to cap everything, there are hundreds of these sculptures in row upon row, in close proximity. The sighted visitor feels denied, lost in a labyrinth that might lead nowhere. As one blind guest said: ‘... you had it all—now it's our turn to have it all—this is ours.’”
Technician Georgio Sadotti and Goodman curator Lara Koseff took us behind the scenes of installing the hundreds of pieces that make up Blind Alphabet.