Middleton’s work spans the permanence of stone and fragility of paper. His interplay between spoken and written words affords a platform to experience, read and review both historic and contemporary language. Presented with the ‘marks of its making’– guide lines set out, subdivide and describe a grid informing where each element is situated. Letter-forms are presented in outline, incised and when selected hi-lighted in gold. Very much presented as ‘work in progress’, seemingly unfinished, each module presents layers of visual tone, juxtaposed to incised textual forms. Letter spacing, leading and tracking are all set to impact on both legibility and readability – slowing the interface between looking, reading and interpreting.


Each phrase or line of text is described in capital letters - the nuances between upper and lower case letters are disregarded – every element presented in volume, shouting not speaking or whispering. The everyday, spoken word, phrase or utterance presented as information, propaganda, proclamation.


Letters cut or inscribed in stone resonate with a permanency greater than that of the printed word. Language expressed in print affords an ephemeral fragility that demands our guardianship and therefore compromises our relationship to it. Manuscripts are experienced in silence, presented in low light conditions to help preserve their existence, where each turn of the page is navigated with gloved hands. The gravity of stone emits a quite different resonance – the material embodies time itself, signifying a direct conduit to the past. Letters cut in stone offer a haptic sensibility, a structural form that records each hammer strike. The process of letter cutting is opposite to that of painting – to generate a letter something has to be removed, cut away, broken out as apposed to being applied.


The process results in an incised impression of enforced learning.


CARL MIDDLETON / One Day the Poor Will Have Nothing Left to Eat But the Rich

  • A re-configured textual treatment of a quote attributed to one of the leading figures of the French Revolution - Jean Jacques Rossaeau

    "When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich." Adopted in more recent times as a protest placard in demonstrations about the widening gap between the rich and poor of New York.



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