Exhibition Dates: 8 May – 1 September 2019
Venue: Whitechapel Gallery, London
Nine Qwerty Bells: Fiction for Live Voice is a sole-authored book by Fusco in which the art works are speaking - in the first person - about their subjecthood and assessment of the other artworks, crucially, the art works can only speak from the physical position that they are in the gallery space, so have a biased and highly subjective viewpoints.
This is indicated in the book’s subtitle ‘Fiction for Live Voice’ where the implicated ‘live voice’ is that of the artworks on display.
This hybrid blend of the creative/critical voice is the central subject and method in this research project.
An elderly woman grimaces, grits her teeth, throws her head back, drops her jaw, frowns – and becomes impassive before continuing her roll call of facial expressions. We hear the clack clack clack of typewriter keys striking paper; the sounds are made not by a machine, but by a man. The experimental writer Maria Fusco (b. 1972, UK) has staged an encounter between the silent Astonishment, Disdain, Pain and So On (2013) by Esther Ferrer (b. 1937, Spain) and the rhythmic The History of the Typewriter Recited by Michael Winslow (2009) by Ignacio Uriarte (b. 1972, Germany). A young woman poised on her haunches in an interior by Cindy Sherman (b. 1954, US) gazes inquisitively at their encounter.
A concrete arch by Cristina Iglesias (b. 1956, Spain) provides the portal into this imaginative world between language, silence and space. Pello Irazu (b. 1963, Spain) presents a tiny but unoccupied Room for Two (1992); while Alan Charlton (b. 1948, UK) articulates the white wall with his mute grey monochromes. Black-and-white photographs by Astrid Klein (b. 1951, Germany) and Christopher Williams (b. 1956, US) speak in the voices of avant-garde and advertising photography, respectively.
Guest curator Maria Fusco takes master works from ”la Caixa” Collection of Contemporary Art as inspiration for NINE QWERTY BELLS. Fiction for Live Voice, a short story in which each work of art gives a presentation at a conference. This is the second of four displays from the collection, which was established in 1985 to foster dialogue between Spanish and international art.