The Dada Table is made of sustainable American White Oak by James Mudge and artist Willem Boshoff has created a number of peculiar sentences, all containing an arcane word within which another word, TABLE, is embedded, which has been lasercut into the surface of The Dada Table. One sentence, for example, reads, 'Contagio-miasmatic drinking places are veritable flupits'. The surface ofthe table becomes a veritable text. Boshoff titles this 'text', The Dada Table, referencing the playful avant-guarde movement ofthe early 20th century. One ofthe most interesting notions of Dada, is questioning the limits of the equivalence between a word and its subject. Inspired by the words 'Ced n'est pas une pipe' at the bottom of Rene Magritte's famous painting, The treachery of images, 1928, in which Magritte demonstrates that not only is the depiction of a pipe on a canvas not a pipe, but the word 'pipe' is not a pipe either. Stefan Themerson tests the limits of equivalence even further when he writes: "How much deity in a holy picture?/How much table in a table?/A table has four legs/ A 'table' has five letters." Relationships between image and language have informed many of the significant developments of 20th century visual art.
Tensions between linguistic and pictorial descriptions have provided a dynamic basis for experimentation across the previous distinct and autonomous fields of literary and visual practice. The contradictions that exist between words and images, and thus between description and representation, energized artistic production and critical debate in successive decades of the century. Writers have used visual strategies to extend and disrupt the communicative value of words, while artists such as Kurt Schwitters and Paul Klee, have used language to interrogate the conventions of representation.
Stefan Themerson said:
Images, pictures, words
They all represent something.
But do they need to
resemble the thing they represent?
Is it an awful crime if they
Wilhelm van Rensburg