Debris Field II

Glenn Ligon American
Printer Gregory Burnet
Publisher Burnet Editions American

Not on view

In his work, Ligon has engaged isolated fragments of texts—which have included passages from celebrated authors and quotations from political figures—in order to question how such writings, and language itself, operate. Without altering the words, he stencils their forms (thereby evoking both quotidian sign painting and Jasper Johns’s earlier engagement with alphabets) yet the letters' deliberately smudged shapes make reading difficult. The letters in Debris Field II, in contrast to those in other works, do not derive from a specific source. Tumbling across the surface in different orientations and degrees of finish, they evoke things left over, such as thoughts that remain after a text is written, an effect heightened by their proximity to various smudges and drips. By removing the source or context, Ligon examines how letters function when used purely as image.

Debris Field II, Glenn Ligon (American, born New York, New York, 1960), Aquatint with sugarlift, drypoint, and scraper

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