The three pieces included in We Sing The Body Electric belong to Bartoli’s NONSEQUITUR series. This explores how we read visual art like language by breaking down the human form into modular fragments of meaning that allow for ever-variable visual ‘sentences’.
The X-bar theory (Chomsky, 1970) offers a schema of syntax that all languages abide by. Like language, compositions use elements that possess innate meaning, like the human form. If visual composition is treated like language (as a ‘discrete combinatorial system’) there is a point to which one can fragment an image to a discrete and concentrated element of meaning - such as a hand or a head. The fragments, like words, can be reassembled in infinite variations to produce legible meaning, playing on both the viewers’ associations and the innate meaning of the fragments. The series as a whole is an exercise in visual verse (the titles are all drawn from literary theory terminology, in French): each piece is designed to be rearranged, both in the orientation of the panels and in the order/direction they are hung, to enable different narrative readings of the compositions.
The title of the series reflects the use of fragmentation in its meaning, and Bartoli's heritage of the classical aesthetic in its form. Through Rome, and my search for coherent roots in Europe,she has come to see the classical (and the art it has inspired across the centuries) as her artistic grounding, her mother tongue. NONSEQUITUR is spelled without a space to reflect the original use in Latin inscriptions. In Roman times question marks would have been implied, so the title is not an assertion as much as a point of discussion. To some extent a group show, juxtaposing the work of separate minds, is necessarily an exercise in non sequiturs; however curation can propose a contrasting interpretation.
2019 NONSEQUITUR, duo show, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, Berlin, Germany