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[BKARTS] S : 10 000 VARIATIONS A Performace based installation

Owen Williams  S : 10 000 VARIATIONS
Yukon Arts Centre Public Art Gallery
Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada
January 15 – March 15 2009
This performance based installation explores gesture and variation 
within the calligraphic practice. The work consists of conceiving 
and writing 10 000 variations of the letter S within the context of an aesthetic space. 
Formally the work consists of ten white plinths, a desk, an ink stick, ink stone, a brush, 
and 10 000 pieces of paper. These elements are conceived as a unified whole. 
They are structured to form a neutral support for the calligraphic act. 
The letters are written with a broad edged brush in hand ground black ink onto 
white laid paper. In keeping these elements consistent, the artist will deploy 
calligraphic theory as both a method of analysis and as a mode of creation. 
Accompanying this work, and in an adjoining space lies a display of documents. 
These documents outline a development in western calligraphic theory in the 
past 150 years. They touch upon elements of type design, typography, and 
letter carving, offering a context for the current work. 
 S : 10 000 VARIATIONS forms part of series of works which explore, 
refine and amplify the elements of a contemporary calligraphic practice. 
The Artist gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Yukon Advanced Artist’s Award, 
and the assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts. 
This work is held in conjunction with De l’écriture [With Writing] Selected Works
from the Collection of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
Owen Williams practices a contemporary calligraphy. He trained in England: 
first with the stone letter carver David Kindersley at his workshop in Cambridge, 
then at the Roehampton Institute in London – graduating in 1998 with a BA (Hons) in Calligraphy. 
He later undertook post graduate research in typeface design at 
Reading University’s Department of Typography. This classical training, 
with its emphasis on repetition, form and process, forms the basis of his practice. 
Owen Williams has written for the journals of the Society of Scribes and Illuminators, 
Letter Exchange, and Letter Arts Review.
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