Richard Kelly Tipping
Land art / text on lawn / temporary
Photo courtesy of the artist
Drone footage courtesy of the artist
Photo of site courtesy of J. Evans-Tse
Mockup courtesy of the artist
Richard Kelly Tipping began composing typographic concrete poems on a manual typewriter in 1967, exploring the page as a field of composition where poetry becomes molecular, and over the years has extended this engagement with poetic text into public space. Tipping is internationally recognised for his ‘artsigns’, using the templates of official signage to make dramatic shifts in meaning. He is also known for textual sculpture and typographs, represented with sculptures in collections including the National Gallery of Australia and the Art Gallery of New South Wales; and with prints in the British Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Tipping’s poetry and graphic art has been published in many books including Instant History (Flying Island, Macau, 2017) and Subvert I Sing (Redfox Press, Ireland, 2008). Originally from Adelaide, he now lives in both in Sydney and in Newcastle endlessly wrangling a fat manuscript of word art works.
In 1997 Hal Judge invited me to Canberra for a poetry reading, and I quizzed him about possibilities for a space for a public intervention: “I'm thinking of making a large-scale wordwork on sloping lawns in the city as an uninvited contribution to the Sculpture Forum in 1998, which will be
What do you reckon? Know any suitable lawns? The idea is to have council worker’s overalls on; carefully mark out the letters with string (at a scale to suit site and ideal viewing position = they might need to be 3 or 4 metres in letter height?); then spray lawnkiller onto the text, pull up the strings and depart.” Perhaps luckily, Hal didn’t offer any suggestions for lawns, and it didn’t happen. Until now. Thanks to Neil Hobbs and Contour 566 for finding a perfect location, and gaining permission. Two decades later, the word Canberror is being formed by laying cut out letters made of black plastic sheeting onto the unsuspecting lawn, and letting the lack of sun do its work. We will remove the plastic as a part of the event, revealing a new word to electrify the city.