In 1947, towards the middle of the year, Raymond Queneau, of about 44 years old, publishes “Exercises in Style”. 99 vignettes are included in the volume, all of which recount the same story – a minor argument in an overcrowded Parisian bus involving a slightly eccentric young man, followed by some sound sartorial advice offered in front of the Gare Saint-Lazare. All a simple backdrop for an exhaustive range of rhetorical devices, word games and experiments with language. Modestly, Queneau describes his work as naïve, craftsmanlike and amusing.
Precisely 69 years later, a group of artists are invited to choose a ‘style’ and respond with an artwork. The 12 artists email back and forth, receive a copy of the book and ultimately select different entries without major overlaps. All an exercise in the relevance (or irrelevance) of bringing together the visual and the verbal. ‘Tactile’, ‘Metaphorical’ or ‘Spectral’, the exhibition translates, rejects or reacts to the written word.