11 november 2023


I always believed that if a work required more words than a title to function, it had sort of failed to do its job. Come to think of it I'm a little wary of titles too.

I guess what I'm trying to say is the last thing I want to make is work that comes with a thick 'instruction manual'. The work needs to speak for itself.

Sometimes a work doesn't need a title and is not given one by the artist, nevertheless it often acquires one whether the artist wishes it or not. Sometimes the artist pre-empts this hi-jacking and will label their work 'untitled'. Properly used 'untitled' conserves a works potential energy and creative ambiguity.

'Untitled' works well for strong pieces that do not require the bit of poetic help that a good title facilitates, but what if the work falls short of being enigmatic and is just obscure? I think a lot of my little drawings and scribblings which are deeply personal fall into being obscure and, if such things remain untitled or are shackled with a bad title, I'm worried that the work is denied a context which helps give it a gentle push to start the whole thing moving - by which I mean the mental/psychic process in the observer that pushes the object or image into some framework that allows it meaning. But I'm not going to say anything more on the subject, I'm just going to hope...

If I bring to mind those early masterpieces painted by unknown 'artists' in the caves of France and Spain tens of thousands of years ago I can make a point, for I maintain that: unbridled by titles (unless they have been given identifying names, and perhaps also a desparate guess at a context by latter day historians), these works are best left to be the enigmas they truly are. Devoid of titles they have an unshackled essence which, regardless of the lack of a defining context, shouts out 'art'. We sense they are 'art', or better still, something nameless and un-namable that is the fundamental ground from which art emerges or rests upon. We don't have to have a verbal annunciation to usher in their status, it is just there inately for all to see.

Art as instinctual apprehension of the numinous - the spirit in things.

I get this from Anje's prints, they effortlessly say "I am art" by their latent qualities: colour and composition, even if their content were to remain occult, and they often do so despite the verbal spattering of words that sometimes break their surfaces, her work 'speaks' sublimely.

Andrea's photographs.... have absolutely no need of titles or words, they speak clearly of themselves and for themselves. Both Anje and Andrea's pieces point directly to other things...

Ludwig Wittgenstein the philosopher said words to the effect that, if something can be said in words about something, then it can be said easily and clearly. But such things that were beyond words could not be spoken of at all and "thereof one must be silent".

Anje and Andrea may think otherwise, but I am deeply envious of directness of their work. I wish I could achieve that, but I get the feeling I'm perversly trying to talk about that which cannot be spoken of when I too, should just be pointing.

Text by Rachael Tyrell
Photograph by Andrea Handl


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