Text Embodied: Transformation of Text into an Experience of Art

“Love Letters and Other Necessary Fictions” part of
Exhibition: ‘Text Embodied: Transformation of Text into an Experience of Art’
Artists: Anila Agha, Amina Ahmed, Saira Ansari, Siona Benjamin,
Khalil Chishtee, Simeen Farhat, Swati Khurana, Amir Parsa
Qasim Riza Shaheen & Imran Nafees Siddqui
Curated by Aisha Z Khan
May 3 – May 31, 2013

Twelve Gates Arts
51 North Second St., Old City
Philadelphia, PA 19106
info@twelvegatesarts.org
215.253.8578

The contemporary artists in ‘Text Embodied’ embody the written word into their work. The treatment of text as image goes back to early Islamic history. In a recent reading from his new book Aisha’s Cushion at Twelve Gates, Jamal J Elias spoke about the text-image relationship in the art of the Islamic world: “[Monumental epigraphy] operates polysemically, at one level functioning as text with its denoted or connoted meanings, while at others it can be seen as operating iconically as a visual art form inseparable from other elements of the decorative or illustrative program of which it forms a part.” The inclusion of political, social, and even personal concepts utilizing text have come a long way since the culmination of the contemporary calligraphic art movement in the 1980s (in Pakistan), for which Rashid Araeen can be called the pioneer of text-based art. The artists in ‘Text Embodied’ have, in more recent times, brought text back to personal but interrogatory space.

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