Art & Education
A Syntax of Dependency
Art has many powers, like the power to make helpful connections between science and religion.
At the Royal Athenaeum in Antwerp, we have incorporated this thought into a project called Athena-syntax. It is a tribute to the work ‘A Syntax of Dependency:’ by Lawrence Weiner and Liam Gillick. The syntax of dependency refers not only to the rules of the language in which words combine to make a sentence, but also to the co-existence between people, their dependence on each other and the basic values that underpin our school.
This work was the starting point for the Athena-syntax in-school project, which encourages horizontal, non-hierarchical dialogue between generations, cultures, religions and science through artistic expression. We use the language and freedom of art to find meeting places for different views, and to explore our understanding of ourselves and each other with open minds.
Lawrence Weiner played a central role in the emergence of conceptual art in the 1960s and remains one of its leading practitioners today. He is listed on the artfacts.net website as one of the world’s 100 most important contemporary artists.
He sees language as ‘the most non-objective thing’ that we have developed in the world. He works a lot with language, using lyrics to describe a movement, an act or a process. It could be a line from a poem or even a scrap found on the street; Weiner treats them as verbal sculptures which can live in the mind long after they’re read or heard, to be absorbed and interpreted individually and uniquely.
Lawrence Weiner (2009)
© Rudi Audiens