Observation #1

September 8, 2014


ANT v ART is a collaborative writing/drawing project between London born arts writer Altair Roelants and Vancouver artist Angela Gooliaff.

ANT v ART subverts the language of contemporary art criticism by reappropriating its terms of address through a two-way writing and drawing exchange (v) between critic (ART) and artist (ANT). This is conducted via a correspondence played out in the postal system rather than using the much socially preferred speed of digital communication.

For entire manifesto please click here.


EXCERPT from Altair Roelants’ Observation No#1: The Behaviour of Art Language

Long complicated words, in long complicated sentences

Long complicated words, in long complicated sentences

Words that don’t really say much about art, just that we see them again and again, hovering there, next to the artwork or sidling up to the artist with a strained smile.

Clusters of self-important words that barge their way to that prime spot in front of the artwork and linger there, framing the audience’s view.

Their arms crossed, acting and looking intelligent, serious even – they frown, contemplate, sometimes shake their heads or wave a finger, turn their back on the artist crowd…

These long complicated words, in long complicated sentences.

You only ever see them in the art world, you very rarely run into them on the street – they prefer to stick together, heads locked – buzzing in unison.

And often, they’re not really even talking about the artwork or the artist, they are, in fact, chatting amongst themselves so they can talk about themselves, and of course, they are speaking about us – the writers, the critics.

These long complicated words, in long complicated sentences.

Words that even when we are unsure of their (exact) meaning, we nod – we get it. If we are honest, we feel good speaking to these words – a little bit clever, even ‘in the know’…

Text Copyright Altair Roelants August 2014

Please visit Altair Roelants’ website.