Writing as Sculpture

Showzine Workshop led by Izabella Scott and Oscar Gaynor

Izabella Scott and Oscar Gaynor (Critical Writing in Art & Design) worked with students from Grey Coat Hospital and Elmgreen School. This workshop asked questions such as: when are words or texts like images? Can poems be sculptures? How can you translate a sculpture or painting into text? Keeping the tone playful, the workshop also tried to breakdown any preconceptions that come with writing about contemporary art. You can’t go wrong, the workshop insisted – translating art objects into text objects is utterly subjective, there are no right answers, and your raw impressions are the best starting point.

Each group explored the relationship between words and images, and between alphabets and shapes, with a series of activities that asked them to think critically about works in the Sculpture exhibition.

The day started with a game of consequences, where quick responses to the works were translated into images and vice versa, which led to some amusing results! Next the students explored the exhibition and completed six tasks: writing continuously without stopping; imagining the smell, taste and sound of artworks; creating calligrams, where the image is made from lines of handwriting; and drawing the artwork from multiple angles on the same page.

In the afternoon, the young people created large posters using words and ideas captured in the morning sessions. Posters of concrete poetry were made using Letraset, stickers, a range of alphabets cut out from magazines and typography books, colourful stamps and stickers. Finally, each student exhibited their poster beside the related artwork, using their bodies to display the poem as a ‘One Minute Sculpture’.