Jack Pierson - Word Pieces | lynda benglis, marco cingolani, ron gorchov, simon linke, klaus rinke, galleria d'arte bergamo

Jack Pierson - Word Pieces

Video | 23/06/2022

In this film, on his exhibition at the Museo Ettore Fico in Turin, Jack Pierson discusses his “Word Pieces” and how they came about.

The exhibition consists of a series of large-scale “Word Pieces,” wall sculptures made up of letters of different sizes and materials. These clusters of words mounted on the walls of the museum are made from letters that Pierson has scavenged over many years. They came from many sources, abandoned commercial signs discards from defunct businesses, discontinued road signs and from many other cultural ephemera. These old letters, with their varied calligraphic character, evoke for us a nostalgia that is often romantic, elegant, humorous, and formally satisfying. In his essay, Sebastien Theroux compared these “Word Pieces” to mandala, by describing them as, “letters that seem to shrink and expand in real time, warping themselves to balance the word or phrase before you. Colors play with textures, drawing your eyes back and forth and back again across the piece. Language aside, the pieces share something with the mandala: beautiful visual feasts to focus attention or aid in meditation”[1].

The "Word Pieces" investigate purely formal qualities without regard to their linguistic meaning. They are concise and sometimes laconic, but the echo from his word creations sends our thoughts roaming, making for the viewer a game of references. As David Rimanelli wrote “language is a factor, although it’s hard to call this text-based art, even though, strictly speaking, it is… The form is the way the letters come from and recapitulate their existence in the greater world, on Broadway or Hollywood Boulevard or Interstate 95, where they’re all out there saying what they need to say, like Stop or No Vacancy or Vacancy. They are words. But they are things and things supposedly tell you how to interact with them more than artwork does[2]. Thus, the poetry of Pierson's work assumes an almost spiritual dimension. As Busto cited in his essay, “writing became both a means and an end, sharing the pictorial spaces of the work – borrowing heavily from Far-Eastern typography and graphic typology – and conveying all sorts of messages”[3]. Pierson, with his “Word Pieces”, also attempts to explore an alternat view of the "American Dream." Rather than valorizing it, he reveals the underbelly of this seductive concept to express what he calls, "the inherent tragedy of the pursuit of glamour".

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog that presents a collection of the “Word Pieces” from the last twenty years and includes critical essays by Andrea Busto, David Rimanelli, and Sebastien Theroux.

To buy the catalogue, please contact the Gallery at: info@thomasbrambilla.com


[1] In Love Letters, by S. Theroux, in Aeternitas, Exhibition Catalogue, Museo Ettore Fico, Turin, iemme edizioni, Napoli, p. 16.

[2] In Lost in the Stars, by D. Rimanelli, in Aeternitas, Exhibition Catalogue, Museo Ettore Fico, Turin, iemme edizioni, Napoli, p. 26.

[3] In Jack Pierson and the Emperor Hui Zong, by A. Busto, in Aeternitas, Exhibition Catalogue, Museo Ettore Fico, Turin, iemme edizioni, Napoli, p. 13.


Research from our users

Lynda Benglis

Marco Cingolani

Oscar Giaconia

Ron Gorchov

Thomas Helbig

Simon Linke

David Novros

Anatoly Osmolovsky

Edoardo Piermattei

Klaus Rinke

Erik Saglia

Joe Zucker

Galleria d'arte Bergamo