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The Joy of Text

Artist and broadcaster Bob and Roberta Smith, famed for his hand-painted slogans, goes on a personal journey to explore how text and language are used in art.

Artist and broadcaster Bob and Roberta Smith, famed for his hand-painted slogans, goes on a personal journey to explore how text and language are used in art.

From monks in Cistercian Abbeys and medieval bureaucrats, to conceptual art subversives challenging who could be considered artists, Bob and Roberta Smith draws on a wide range of traditions. He also re-examines his own formative experiences with the interplay of words, colour and form to bring listeners into the present.

Over the course of the programme, we're led on an emotional trip through a world of cut up Victorian novellas - and we encounter pop-art printing making nuns working at the coal face of the civil rights.

Bob and Roberta Smith meets political cartoonists creating new languages, artists fusing text and images to give voices to the marginalised, and a group of women democratising art through text, images and a Risograph printing machine.

This programme reveals that - away from plays, novels or song lyrics - text and language have been adopted by artists in contrasting and ever-evolving ways, but these all reveal that text is an art form in itself.

Featuring Steve Bell, Janette Parris, Tom Phillips, Donna Steele and Sofia Niazi.

Presenter: Bob and Roberta Smith
Producer: David Waters
A TBI production for BBC Radio 4

Available now

28 minutes

Last on

Thu 24 Jan 2019 11:30