Sunday, 6 January 2019

Joseph Grigely

I was recently introduced to the work of Joseph Grigely, an American artist who works in a range of media including sculpture, video and installation. When Grigely was ten he was involved in an accident and he became profoundly deaf. He has since used this to fuel his artistic practice, commenting that he “want[s] to take people inside the experience of being deaf and share it with them.”

St. Cecilia 2007, paper

Grigely regularly communicates with other people by writing on scraps of paper and napkins. He collects these records of his daily conversations, and organises them according to different systems such as their size or colour.

167 White Conversations 2004
© Joseph Grigely

"When people who do not know sign language talk with me, I explain that I am deaf and ask them to write – a mode of communication that is simple without being simplistic, and generally inclusive. But what gets written is often quite unlike writing in the usual sense: there are gaps, crossed-out words, drawing, lines, all of which looks less like writing that it does talking on paper. It is by using these scraps of paper on which people have written notes, names, or phrases in order to 'converse' with me that I make much of my art, using such scraps of conversations to make wall pieces, books, and table-top tableaux that all take as their subject matter the ineluctable differences between speech and writing, and reading and listening."

The Information Economy, 1996, mixed media

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