Janice Kerbel

5 January 2016
Janice Kerbel, Remarkable Double Attraction Crystal and Blindspot, 2007

Bury Art Gallery

We are excited to share with you our recent acquisition of Janice Kerbel’s (b.1969) Remarkable: Double Attraction – Crystal and Blindspot (2007) for Bury Art Museum. Kerbel is currently nominated for this year’s Turner Prize, which will be announced on 7 December, for her most recent work DOUG – a musical composition in the form of nine songs for six voices.

In Double Attraction – Crystal and Blindspot we are told the story of ‘the shyest person alive’, who has the ability to unveil ‘hidden truths’ and ‘distant futures’.  Much like 19th century fair posters, Kerbel uses traditional tools such as visually amplified typography and hyperbolic language to create a sense of momentary suspension of time and history.

Kerbel’s typographic approach when conveying her absurd Remarkable series creates an unusual linguistic emphasis. Although the prints are created digitally, each letter is treated as an object that is set individually onto the page rather than as part of a text document. This has the effect of altering the content’s focus and disguising the impossibility of the narrative, encouraging the viewer to expand their imagination following the intrigue of the work.

The artist’s use of language and her visual reference to Victorian posters in the Remarkable series relates to Bury Art Museum’s existing collections, including the theatre posters in their social history collection. It also expands and enhances the museum’s Text Art Archive, a main area of recent collections development that was established with the intention of documenting information on the history and practice of Language Art, making it secure and easily available.

Janice Kerbel is a Canadian artist based in London. In recent years she has been interested in creating artwork in literary forms. Though her work is generally simplistic and refined in its outcome, behind each piece is an extensive and complex body of research. Her Remarkable series is significant as it typifies the artist’s thematic and stylistic approach to language. In the series, Kerbel takes 19th century fairground posters as her inspiration and within each print tells the impossible story of a farfetched and extraordinary performance act. The work was originally developed for Frieze Projects at Frieze Art Fair in 2007 as a reflection upon the spectacle of the fair.

Janice Kerbel has been nominated this year of the Turner Prize in Glasgow (winner will be announced on December 6th) with the work DOUG, first performed in 2014 at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow. Other exhibitions include: Score, Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver (2015- upcoming); In Form Express & Admirable, Camberwell Space, London, UK; Works on Paper, i8 Gallery, Reykjavik; and Abstract Generation: Now in Print, MoMA, New York (all 2013).


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