We relate strongly to the way women have, throughout the centuries, found alternative avenues for their voices using different aesthetic forms. Our interest is with words, images, the interplay of verbal and visual languages in art, the role of words as images and the state of ‘silence’ created by cryptic or unintelligible scripts.
Annette Iggulden has exhibited extensively in galleries throughout Australia. Her work is represented in major Australian collections and at the Victoria & Albert Museum in the U. K. Her doctoral exegesis, Women’s Silence: In the Space of Words and Images (2002), is held in the Research Libraries of The TATE (UK), the National Gallery of Australia and other major state libraries. She has been awarded several artist residencies in Australia and overseas.
During Iggulden’s artist-in-residency (The Australian Tapestry Workshop, Melbourne: November 14 – December 2, 2011), she commenced an investigative series of works on paper, re-writing the words from ‘Aus-lan: Australian sign language’ by Australian poet, Jennifer Harrison.
Says Iggulden …
‘During my three-week residency at The Australian Tapestry Workshop, I concentrated on several investigative series of works on paper drawing from the poem ‘Aus-lan: Australian sign language’ (1994). This inspiring work looks at how the ambiguities of life might be expressed in different ways including ‘signing’ and other bodily performances of language, written, spoken, felt and experienced. Soundscapes is one of those series.
I am always moved to learn how groups of people have, throughout the centuries, expressed their ‘silence’ by creating their own language and forging alternative avenues for their voice. I copy the words of others, re-writing their words using the two cryptic scripts I have derived from alphabetic writing in my art practice. My intuitive method of re-inscription changes the written text into a visual image. The act of writing then takes on the role of drawing. The handwritten scripts retain a sense of the voice while enhancing the nonverbal aspects of the narrative, its ‘silences’. My intention is never to illustrate the text but rather create a different experience of its content’
This work looks at how the ambiguities of life are expressed in different ways – including ‘signing’ and other bodily performances of language, written, spoken, felt and experienced. Iggulden’s does not illustrate the text, but expresses it in a different, visual language. We wanted to explore how technological workshop methods might transform words/images when embedded in cloth.
Aus-lan: Australian sign language My deaf friend said to me: our conversations are overheard, everywhere we speak. He teaches me the sign for Sydney: the shape of a harbour bridge, skin webbing blue water. I hear a quiet voice in my hands in the silence when I am speaking and foam, rubber, snow and glycerine seem softer in the fingering span than spoken words falling short of what they name. I once saw a baby catching sunlight in his hands— everywhere the child touched he laughed at what he could not touch until language wheeled his pram away and he learned that silhouettes and sun were called chair and where. Precisely, in mother tongue, we categorise the conch shells, sea hollows the safety pins and taboos. My friend said: I will teach you what you need to know... other signs belong only to the deaf. He teaches me the sign Forget it is a fist placed against the right temple the hand opening, flicking sun away from the head.