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

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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