Putting Text Into Context is a lecture and workshop, produced and delivered by Trevor H. Smith, providing an introduction to text-based artworks for students at undergraduate level. References are available on request. Please email info@trevorhsmith.co.uk for more information.

The lecture provides:

  • An explanation of how text became an acceptable form of expression in a place previously dominated by image and object.
  • Introductions to the work of key practitioners of text-based art such as Joseph Kosuth, John Baldessari, Jenny Holzer, and Ed Ruscha.
  • A brief introduction to contemporary practitioners, including Doug Aitken, Anatol Knotek, Mobstr, and Douglas Gordon.
  • A critical consideration of my own work; including how and why it developed from illustration, through actions, towards text-based works.
  • Numerous examples of the ways in which artists have incorporated text into their work.

The workshop includes:

  • Matching titles and artworks together (some are real, some fictional).
  • Producing a proposal for an artwork, project, or exhibition in which the proposal itself acts as the work of art.
  • Re-contextualising text that already exists in the world.

This lecture and workshop has so far been delivered to level one undergraduates at Bath Spa University in April 2015, and April 2016.

Sample images:



Doug Aitken 1968

04 I sometimes wish

Pencil Story, John Baldessari, 1971
1968 Broken, Doug Aitken, 2011
The Office Christmas Party, Trevor H. Smith, 2011

All images © the artists.