As a form of communication, text conveys information and meaning. It also presents an opportunity for interpretation and artistic engagement. Paratext—literally “beside text”—includes the more subtle associations a text carries, including reference notes, inscriptions, and the style of lettering chosen. When artists combine image, text, and paratext, new layers of interpretation are introduced, and new spaces of discourse are created. Featuring examples from Qur’an manuscripts to historical Japanese prints to contemporary works, this exhibition explores the relationships between text, paratext, and image, examining how choice of material influences texts; how different manipulations of texts and images signal social class, education, and other cultural hierarchies and norms; and how intercultural exchange can take place through circulation and interpretation.
Text, Paratext, and Images is curated by Kuan-Hung Liu (Brown PhD 2023, History of Art and Architecture) and Kimia Rahnavardi (RISD MDes 2020, Interior Architecture, Adaptive Reuse).
The RISD Museum is supported by a grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, through an appropriation by the Rhode Island General Assembly and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and with the generous partnership of the Rhode Island School of Design, its Board of Trustees, and Museum Governors.
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