John Court: The Work Between the Lines

  • Image: John Court, Art is Art 2, 2010.

    Finland-based artist John Court's first UK solo exhibition at Spacex gallery in Exeter investigates the ways in which language intersects with drawing.

    The Work Between the Lines includes drawings, performance, sculpture and video, but Court considers all his work to be fundamentally concerned with drawing, in that drawing connects the elements of line, movement, space and time. Severely dyslexic Court began drawing at the age of nineteen, using it as a means to comprehend the difficulties and negative experiences he had gone through at school. During this process he gained self-confidence through learning to read and write in his own way.

    In Court's work the parallels between drawing and language become visible. Letters appear to him as visual forms rather than comprehensible symbols. In Court's drawings his own involvement is often almost devoid and hidden from view: in some instances his works look as if they have been made by a machine, possessing a reductivist quality and a sense of purity. Alongside the drawings, the exhibition will also include a series of films and documentary, trace material from earlier performance works and a selection of sculptural works, some of which gallery visitors will be able to interact with.

    A new performance by Court will mark the closing of the exhibition. Viewers will witness Court pushing his body to its absolute limit. Exploring time is essential in this performance – it will last for eight hours, a duration that is based on the time of an average working day. Another recent performance by Court, taking place north of the Arctic Circle, also involved walking 200 metres back and forth in a straight line for over 8 hours.

    John Court was born in 1969 in Bromley, in the county of Kent in England, but moved to Finland in 1997. He lives and works in Lapland, close to the Arctic Circle. Court was recently awarded a three year grant by the Arts Council of Finland.

    The Work Between the Lines is supported by The Finnish Institute in London.

    John Court: The Work Between the Lines
    29 September – 24 November 2012
    Tuesday–Saturday, 10am–5pm
    Spacex, 45 Preston Street, Exeter EX1 1DF
    Free admission

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