• Jana

Week 7: Words and Pictures

Updated: Mar 18

The artist Adrian Piper, in the series: Everything Will Be Taken Away, in my eyes, practices the flow in which text transforms into images and vice versa.

The picture evokes thoughts of impermanence, death, and the afterlife.


Piper connects the project to her sense of alienation from American politics and culture.


PIPER, Adrian. 2003. Everything #2.8. Private Collection. [Online]. [Accessed 11. March 2022]. Available from: https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/3924?locale=en

The American artist Adrian Piper left the USA and lives in Berlin.


Today the relationship between an image and text is ubiquitous. In the image-rich culture we live in, we have become accustomed to text accompanying images. Here I am thinking primarily of Instagram. Sometimes I enjoy reading the hashtags. They show me on which journey through the Internet the respective picture is being sent and sometimes with what intentions it is meant to be sent.


Pairing images with text has always been attractive to me. Actually, I first wrote short sayings as a child and teenager before I even had a camera at my disposal. Combining both formed my diaries, which I kept for decades after.

To put this on display, however, was too personal for me.


Only recently, when people started buying my pictures on Kauai, I paired different texts, mostly in the form of poetry, haiku or simply meanings of some Hawaiian words with these pictures and shared them with the world. With this combination I had the feeling that I was able to clarify how the light, the nature or the perceptible Aloha Spirit holds this island.

I'm becoming more and more aware of how important the artists' texts in exhibitions have become to me. Especially if that the image does not conflict with the text but rather reveals an unexpected meaning. A third dimension in which the viewer entrench themselves further.

I used to want to read pictures myself, without any guidelines. Just like you imagine pictures and scenes when reading a book and are then disappointed when you see a film adaptation of the book because the pictures never quite or at all correspond with your own imagination. It often happened the other way around as well. A wonderful picture that immediately sparks stories in your head and then you read the photographer's text and your own imagination is torn into something trivial.


Pairing pictures with text seems easier than it is. Combining words and images and vice versa is a rather big challenge. If it succeeds, however, the cards are laid out with infinite interpretations and the journeys this sets one on can be very exciting.



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