Textual Enigmas: Sam Winston

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If you spend enough time staring at letters, words, sentences and paragraphs,  language becomes defamiliarised and starts to gradually lose it’s meaning. No where is this idea better explored than in the sculptures and drawings of British artist Sam Winston. His entangled and labyrinthine examinations of language transform the banality of words into strangely evocative works of art. This interrogation of typography reinstates new meanings and understandings, displaying what he describes in one work as “an archeology of [the] writing process.”

Winston’s reference to archeology is underlined in the construction of layers and the creation of visual palimpsests that make up his pieces. For example, in Dictionary limited edition, he reflects on the often overlooked – and yet intertwined – relationship between language and design, effectively presenting words as an image or two-dimensional architecture. Looking at his construction of letters, as they float like feathers across the page, I couldn’t help but think that people might be more inclined to pick up an average dictionary if they looked a little more like this.


April 1, 2011