Affectionate Terms of Abuse

9 Sep 2017 – 7 Oct 2017

Event times

tue, wed: 4 - 7 pm
thu - fri: 11 am - 7 pm
sat: 11 am - 3 pm

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Swearing is the most intriguing of the magical uses of language. Artists that were invited to participate, fequently or seldomly incorporate text and words in their art.


Affectionate Terms of Abuse
Bernadette Anzengruber, Patrick Baumüller, Ivica Capan, Vlasta Delimar, frustracиja., Tomislav Gotovac, Vlado Martek, Veronika Merklein, Lilo Nein, Alexander Viscio

Archive in Words – Limited Artist Books
Sandro Dukic, Jonathan Safran Foer, Tomislav Gotovac, Dimitrije Bašičević MANGELOS, Maj 75 L, Vlado Martek, Jonathan Monk, Giovanni Morbin,Lilo Nein, Julije Knifer, Harold Pinter / Gorgona, Josip Stošić, Goran Trbuljak, Lawrence Weiner

OPENING: 9.9., 6 pm
Thursday, 14.9., 6pm
Bad Word Disco & participative performances with frustracиja. & Patrick Baumüller

Let's talk about Fuck. Shit. Asshole. Arschloch. Sau. Kurac. Möse. Dick. Fat.
Swearing is the most intriguing of the magical uses of language. Virtually every culture has their unique set of swearwords. Whatever is taboo in a culture, whether faeces, sexuality, incest, death or animal names become a source of foul language.

The exhibition Affectionate Terms of Abuse deals with this topic. Artists that were invited to participate, fequently or seldomly incorporate text and words in their art. The word becomes an independent visual medium and functions as communicative interface between the written word and its artistic design. The show explores the limits of bad language. The words serve not only as a tool, but also as a toy: playing in and with the language. The exhibition is focused on the presentation of artworks from the realms of performance, painting, graphics, photography, collage, sculpture and installation.

According to Marten-Cleef, the definition of a swearword is "a non-individual, emotionally aggressive speech" . In his book, Geoffrey Hughes says that: "Swearing draws upon such powerful and incongruous resonators as religion, sex, madness, excretion and nationality encompassing an extraordinary variety of attitudes including the violent, the shocking, the absurd, the casual, and the impossible."

We all know what "bad words" are. Even though they are socially unacceptable, instead of avoiding them, we easily and happily use them. The content of vulgarism has drastically shifted over the past few decades; Taboos are changing, and so does the profanity.

Taboo words are more than just words, it is actually paradoxical, but no word in itself is offensive and always depends on its use in a particular context. Since Erdmann's publication "The Importance of the Word" in 1925, the "secondary meaning" of the word has become an important topic in linguistics. It distinguishes the meaning of the word into conceptual content (the main meaning) and the secondary sense and the feeling (the secondary meaning). Oksana Havryliv has stated in her study that verbal aggressions can be done openly, but also in hidden form, in the mind of the speaker or in the absence of the addressee.

'Bad language' is entirely based on the context in which particular words are used in a situation.
It is interesting to see that, in the modern society „expletives words" became conventionalized. One and the same word can appear in several variations: once for its main meaning, but also for its numerous secondary meanings, a rude or insulting attack, but also as a humorous mockery or as a nick name.

For example Gotovac, Delimar, Anzengruber, Merklein, frustracиja. or Capan use words such as KURAC, DICK, FAT, MÖSE or SAUTROTTEL to indirectly criticize the political system, forms of economy, social grievances, the art world and consumerist society.

A poetic connection in terms of image- and word-language can be seen in the works of Nein and Martek. However, Baumüller manages to consciously foil this level and presents a (primitive) dispute on an interactive and repetitive platform. How to play with words in visually perceptible object configurations is a recurrent theme in Alexander Viscio's conceptual artistic work.

The swear words become a picture, an object, a sculpture or an abstract figure and
try to transfer the supposed distorted picture into an artistic manifestation. „Bad" words shouldn´t be treated as bad at all, because in their core they are not; but simply as another tool available to us within the art of language. It is intended to inform and stimulate thought and discussion.

The second room of the gallery is structured as a small library. The declared goal is to show unique artist books, rare editions or multiples, which deal with words in a playful way. In poems, typo grams, novels, visual texts and sculptural objects different methods and divergent approaches are presented by Weiner, Gotovac, Stošić, Morbin or Mangelos and Harold Pinter/Gorgona.

Part of the open library will feature books on the subject of "vulgar language" and "words". Visitors are invited to take the books from the shelves and read them on the spot. Many of the books are from the collection of Dr. Heidi Fazekas.

We cordially invite you to break the taboos of the „foul" language and to rethink the meaning of the offensive words that became a part of our everydayness.


Exhibiting artistsToggle

Bernadette Anzengruber

Vlado Martek

Tomislav Gotovac

Vlasta Delimar

Ivica Capan

Lilo Nein

Veronika Merklein

Dimitrije Bašičević MANGELOS

Sandro Dukic

Alexander Viscio


Patrick Baumüller


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