The Visual Word exhibition took place in Swansea and Cardiff between August and September 1995 and was part of the UK Year of Literature and Writing, hosted by the City and County of Swansea

Extract from the exhibition magazine:

The Visual Word: An Exhibition of Responses is by no means an attempt to represent a comprehensive picture of writers and artists working in collaboration in Wales and Europe. It has grown from an existing situation, among those artists and writers I know, some as friends, some as acquaintances and some as well-known names.

The artists and writers, especially those based in Wales, are well known to many who visit the premier galleries, for this exhibition, Swansea Arts Workshop Gallery and The Old Library, Cardiff; some of the works exhibited have been seen before, some are new, unseen and unread.

The exhibition aims to show the particular and very important relationship between the artist and the writer, between the visual image and the word.

As with many exhibitions and projects in which I have been involved over the years, it starts with a conversation. In this case a chat with my friends and colleagues, artist William Brown and writer and teacher Malcolm Parr. We had been working that day in a school, one of five schools, on a European funded project I had put together, The Five Schools Project.

We talked of the friends and colleagues we knew who collaborated or responded across both art-forms. This was a year or so before Swansea hosted the Year of Literature. The idea was talked of, a list was created and grew from a Wales based project to a UK and European project. 

Jane Phillips of Swansea Arts Workshop (now Mission Gallery) and Ron Adam at The Old Library, Cardiff came on Board as venues. The exhibition was supported by the Literature Department of The Arts Council of Wales and promoted through the UK Year of Literature. 

There were many consequences of this event that would, through  artist, William Brown, collaborating with a German artist, Johannes Glaw, allow the development of a fruitful relationship with a Czech poet, Joseph Janda and create opportunities that lasted many years with fruitful outcomes, the Festival of Czech and Slovak Surrealism, being one of them.

The final list of artists still surprises me:

UK Keith Bayliss, Malcolm Parr, Tony Goble, Nigel Jenkins, Paul Henry, Anthony Evans, Marten Post, Iwan Lloyd, William Brown, Peter Finch, J.C. Evans, Paul Peter Piech, John Beynon, Lynne Bebb, David Thomas, Herve Constant, Gary Willis

France Lucien Suel.

Germany Johannes W Glaw, Josef Huercamp

Russia Serge Segay

Czech Republic Josef Janda

Posted by:Keith Bayliss