The House of Words, London
Dr Johnson's House
17 Gough Square, London EC4A 3DE
2 June to 29 August 2009
2009 is the tercentenary of the birth of Samuel Johnson, celebrated British literary figure and wit. Dr Johnsonís House, set within a maze of passageways to the north of Fleet Street, is where he famously compiled the first comprehensive dictionary of the English language, published in 1755.
To celebrate this significant anniversary, seven contemporary artists have been invited to respond to the House and its history. The fascinating results are presented in The House of Words exhibition where the visitor will discover intriguing artworks that bring into focus less well-known aspects of Johnsonís life and work.
The artworks include mysterious projections by Era Vati, a series of witty text-based interventions from Chris Kenny and a remarkable table by Robert Dawson inspired by Johnsonís love of tea. Jason Cleverly has devised a mixed-media interactive project for the Dictionary Garret where visitors can collaborate in the making of a new online dictionary. Other site-specific works feature laser-cut dictionaries by Jane Prophet, a magical dust derived from Wedgwood Blue Jasper by Clare Twomey and an installation based on Johnsonís curious chair from the Old Cock Tavern by Caroline Broadhead.
The projectís curators, Tessa Peters & Janice West, have a particular interest in exploring the interpretative potential of art in settings beyond the conventional gallery space.