BANGKOK — From writing words with pens, five French artists forming words with their art and gesture in the upcoming exhibition “To Do Things With Words” launches on Saturday.

The exhibition title is inspired by “How to Do Things With Words”, a book by British philosopher of language J.L. Austin who initiated the term “performative language,” referring to the power of words that doesn’t only describe a given reality, but also an action.

Visitors to the exhibition will observe walls plastered with texts, watch videos, and experience the power of words through live performances on site. The event will be in Thai, English and French.

“The language, even if we do not speak the same language, is an instrument of common sense that we all share,” the French curator Doriane Spiteri said in an email. “For the artists, the language is a way of thinking on the point of view, the oral tradition, the different messages we receive in everyday life.”


The curator added that word and language can be used in a variety of ways as an art form to create emotion, to communicate, to create space for dialogue and also for political purpose.

“In the 70s and 80s, women artists used the language for political purposes. Some women, like Jenny Holzer and Barbara Kruger for example, used the language to disseminate messages in the street to question the place of women in the society and in the art,” Spiteri wrote.


Joining as part of a one-month-residency program at Hong Hub, Spiteri chose to curate immaterial art as it allows for easier mobility. The chosen five artists are keen to express words through art. For example, Damien Marchal filmed a dance at the U.N. Geneva office, while Camille Bondon’s collaborated performance with Thai artists which discusses how the same messages can be interpreted or hijacked into different meanings.

The exhibition launches at 7pm on Saturday with a performance by Camille Bondon in collaboration with Sompong Tawee and runs through Aug. 19 at Buffalo Bridge Gallery, located on Phahonyothin Road. The nearest BTS station is Saphan Khwai.