Certainty Suspended investigates the text art of Anne Charnock who reveals her self-doubts about her art-making. Charnock adopts the ‘track changes’ function in word processing programs to give solid form to her contradictory thoughts.
Michael Corris makes an impressive and audacious sweep through language-in-art from the 1960s to the present day. Against this backdrop, he describes Charnock’s use of inscribed language as ‘thought writ large, rather than text as matter’. Her work is in tune, he concludes, with the ‘dialogic imagination spawned during the early years of conceptual art,’ as opposed to the generic conceptualism of today. According to Corris, the viewer rehearses the artist’s uncertainty as they make false starts and trip over themselves in their attempts to extract competing sentences.
In a witty essay, Fiona Curran makes connections between Charnock’s close engagement with the viewer and Italo Calvino’s surreal novel, If On a Winter’s Night a Traveller. Calvino alternates between third and second person in 10 interrelated stories, taking the reader on a disorientating journey, a mirror of Charnock’s ‘sense of the precarious’.