Between Words investigates the topography of language, drawing attention to its construction, materiality and choregraphy. Using Raymond Russel’s long 1274-line poem Nouvelles Impressions d’Afrique as its source, it reflects it back, though void of words, as a mere ‘landscape of grammar’ (a landscape of punctuation). The artist, in this work, conceals the words of the poem to isolate an exact facsimile of the author’s original notational (punctuational) inscriptions found in his oeuvre which is then retranscribed as an orchestra. The initial book work is then re-translated into a score, arranged in four movements (four cantos) and devised as a: Piece for 4 instruments. The splayed punctuation is transcribed into a landscape of elaborate symphonic arrangement, ascribed with questions surrounding the duration, instrumentation, articulations and dynamics. Raymond Roussel was a musician prior to becoming a poet. It came to the artist’s attention that the linguistic structures he devised in this complex poem were comparable to musical structures.
This score has been interpreted numerous times, by both musicians and vocalists, resulting in multiple unique performances. For each interpretation, both the artist and musician(s) personalise the score with their own annotations. Each performance is also ascribed with a specific time line, tempo, instrumentation, duration and in some cases, specific instructions, articulations or dynamics. The score, like its performance, becomes unique thus acquiring the status of a work of art. The score was first performed at the Soundwaves Festival, pavilion Theatre, Brighton (2008) with leading contemporary musicians, Anton Lukoszevieze and his group, Apartment House. Recent performances include at the Nuit Résonance, Biennale de Lyon (2011), the Time of Music Festival, Viitasaari, Finland (2011) and at Site Gallery, Sheffield, UK (2010) alongside the exhibition ‘Sol LeWitt: Artist’s Books’.
Unique oeuvre from performance at Site Gallery, Sheffield, UK (alongside the exhibition “Sol LeWitt: Artist’s Books”) 8 May 2010 Performed by the Edges Ensemble