ART and Exhibitions; TALK Show

Article excerpt

THE Ikon Gallery always holds prestigious exhibitions and attracts artists from all parts of the globe.

Fitting then that the artists in Babel, all about communication, hail from America, the UK, China, Malaysia, Sweden and Australia - and all introduce their own language.

But what's their common message? And does style triumph over content, and does it all end, as in the Tower of Babel, in a total breakdown of communication?

Maybe that's part of the point and our efforts at communication often fail to deliver the ideas in our heads.

The show includes:

Kenneth Gold whose Soliloquy is a 300-page book, a transcript of every word spoken over a week - including conversations with his dog.

Wong Hoy Cheong with his ABC of government, made partly of disintegrated text and pulp from Mein Kampf, by Hitler.

Simryn Gill with Washed Up - a display of pieces of glass smoothed by the sea and collected from beaches. The artist has engraved them with words.

Tony Kemplen with Polyglot, showing the failure to have a single international language with a gaggle of mechanical talking parrots.

Perhaps Fiona Banner's 3-D full stop says it all.

BABEL: Contemporary art and the journey of communication, Ikon Gallery, Oozells Square, Birmingham, Until Nov 7. 0121 2480708.

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