Therese Bolliger

Rewilding, Kunsthaus Baselland, Switzerland, April 13 - August 18, 2024

Inhabiting Language draws attention to the interactive quality of words, interactive in the sense that they can come to live through an intense awareness of their power to shape our consciousness, our sense of being, our cognitive abilities. Language remains a central aspect of our identities, of any kind of knowledge structure, bridging every discipline and linking scientific research, philosophy, ideology, religion, culture and the arts. With this work I would like to present the notion that we intensify our awareness that language is a rich resource available to us which we can continue to develop  as a creative act, with insight, deepened knowledge, responsibility and a striving for the acknowledgement of sentient and human qualities in a cautionary assertion of the developing field of artificial intelligence.

On the physical and temporal aspects of Inhabiting language

Inhabiting Language, a wall - dependent work, consists of over forty elements made of screening material, each acting as a carrier of a term descriptive of our present reality. The  units are tenuously suspended on expansive walls suggesting a need for balance, a necessity for their existence.  The words are grouped in loose clusters, one identifying terms that emerged strictly in the twenty first century, the second group highlighting a vocabulary with deep roots in history yet reaching into the present.

The piece is physically embodied through its materiality, a fabric-like quality. Its original use  defined a boundary between interior versus  exterior space, physicality versus ephemerality, private versus public space and acted as a barrier, a protection from threatening  outside elements.  The fragility or instability parallels an uncertainty linked with the potentially never ending reconsideration of new groupings, a process associated with temporal dimensions.

The words, having been cut into the fabric, produce a shadow, recording the most subtle change in lighting conditions and the passage of time. This reaffirms the intention to present the work in a temporal context, perhaps even an evolving historic  frame of reference.

The attempt to imbue language with sentient qualities, with psychological connotations, to humanize it, remains at the core.

Rewilding, 2024

Monira Al Qadiri, El Anatsui, Thérèse Bolliger, Andrea Bowers, Renate Buser, Tony Cokes, Anne-Lise Coste, Rochelle Feinstein, Simone Forti, Gabrielle Goliath, Joan Jonas, Daniela Keiser, Anna Maria Maiolino, Laura Mietrup, Alexandra Navratil, Jacob Ott, Marine Pagès, Pipilotti Rist, Leonor Serrano Rivas, Gerda Steiner & Jörg Lenzlinger, Tatiana Trouvé, Naama Tsabar, Anna Winteler