Art & Language were amongst the originators of the Conceptual Art movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The name now designates the practical artistic work of Michael Baldwin and Mel Ramsden who are joined by Charles Harrison for literary and theoretical projects. Their works are widely exhibited and collected in Europe and the USA. International exhibitions include Documenta of 1972, 1982 and 1997 as well as major retrospectives at the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris (1993), P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York (1999), Musée d'Art Moderne, Lille (2002) and the Centro de Arte Contemporaneo, Malaga (2004). Recent publications include Art & Language: Homes from Homes II, Zurich, 2006; Art & Language, Writings, Madrid and London, 2005, 2007. Art & Language have also contributed to a number of journals and periodicals including Radical Philosophy and Critical Inquiry. An exhibition of recent work is currently on show at Distrito 4, Madrid. They have collaborated with the London Metropolitan University, on the project ‘What Work Does the Artwork Do?’ Art & Language are Visiting Professors in the Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design.
A portrait of V.I. Lenin in the style of Jackson Pollock
To document an artistic act is to interfere with it to a greater or lesser degree. Documentation takes place in a social circumstance and indeed it is a social act. But in order to know what interference there is we may have to say where artistic act ends and documentation begins. With this in mind, we offer an example. Art & Language has written the words for songs that have been sung and recorded by the Rock n' Roll band The Red Krayola. We might argue that our creative remit ends when the words are in the hands of lead musician Mayo Thompson of The Red Krayola, as we have little to say with regard to musical outcomes. If our creative remit does end at that point, then we might argue further, that the recorded performance of the band documents our efforts. This is possibly an unusual case that serves to illustrate the instability of things at the margins of artistic practice.