Korot's hand-woven canvases and oil paintings from the 1980s reflect a deep contemplation of pattern, weaving and the loom. The written word is treated abstractly as a code- as a means to gain knowledge and store information. A quote in Korot's 2011 catalog sums up the approach: "Text (textus) and weave (texto) share the same latin root. Text is a tissue or fabric woven of many threads. It is a web, texture, structure, a thought, something that can be built, raveled and unraveled."
The canvases themselves are a translation of The Tower of Babel text from Genesis into Korot's abstract grid based language. The markings become a visual meditation on language as image, or still life, devoid of specific meaning. The text itself recounts the Babel story which describes an ancient world, not unlike our own, where a human centered world view develops in opposition to a god centered one. Technological advances in building materials are key to the development of this post-flood city- but according to commentaries on the text, the inhabitants worshipped their own powers and turned from one another in the process. Babel itself translates from the Hebrew as "confusion". Here, the power and unity of purpose attained through a common language is not enhanced by technological development, and so the people no longer understand one another and are dispersed and scattered across the face of the earth.
About Beryl Korot
An early video art pioneer, Beryl Korot is well known for her installation works that explore the relationship between analog technologies—such as the loom—and video. “Just as the spinning and gathering of wool serve as the raw material for a weave,” Korot says, “so the artist working with video selects images to serve as the basic substance of the work.” With landmark multiple-channel installation works such as Text and Commentary (1977), Korot developed new possibilities for the creation of visual narratives; in other works, she has used painting to meditate on language by inventing a coded analog grid for the Roman alphabet. In 1970 Korot co-founded Radical Software, an early publication to explore alternative communication systems.
American, b. 1945, New York, New York