Piles of Pre-Speech
Annie Crawford, 2020-21
About the work
Created over the first lockdown in 2020, then animated in 2021, this work explores the concept of rhythm: the rhythm of speech, reading, and writing. It was painted in a concertina sketchbook over a period of three months and is approximately six meters long. It uses the same abstract forms seen in all of Annie’s works, which represent words in their unformed state. When closed this sketchbook is symbolic of a notebook – a private space. When open it becomes an expanded space, like unfolding one’s mental operations or their private thoughts.
As you gradually open the painting, it’s like reading a book, but the shapes have no meaning to the viewer (they do for Annie) which in some way renders the reader illiterate. It’s a contradiction – a book that can’t be read but by the creator. Whilst they cannot “read” these shapes, the sense of movement and rhythm, the chaos, and even the colour create a readable story without words. Essentially, it is a representation of the way Annie’s (neurodivergent) brain works in relation to the creation of words. Chaotic and confusing. A suggestion of Annie’s inability to translate pre-speech (meaning the creation of words in your brain before they become verbal words) into speech.
“Insight into my private thoughts, but by the nature of it those thoughts remain private. The audience, frustrated by the fact they cannot read it, and questioning what it says, are then experiencing the same frustration I feel at trying to communicate in a way which does not compute with my brain.”
A thick spined book with a black cover is laid open on a white surface. The inside cover and front page is covered in brightly coloured organic shapes and outlined in black.
A very long concertinaed page covered in brightly coloured organic shapes and outlined in black is opened out across a grey floor. The end lies flat on the floor with the rest of the page standing on points of the zig-zag. It stands next to a white wall.