The Word Search Series by artist Graham Kelman investigates concepts of contradiction and loss of meaning through the use of a single sculpture made from many individual sculptures. Each viewer is invited to excavate the hidden poem(s).

The artwork is designed to evolve into new works, where each glyph module moves on a system of hidden rails. New poems are composed on a regular basis.

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“n 2017, I had the idea to create a modular artwork composed of smaller sculptures that could be rearranged to create new pieces. Working with @jennyholzerstudio influenced me to do something a little more direct, thinking about the alphabet as a kit of parts. I’ve been interested in the intersection of Graphic Design and Architecture, and this project was a good opportunity to explore that.

Little did I know that it would take me almost four years to complete the series. This is the first work I completed this year.

Something else was happening during this time. It seemed like words in culture were increasingly losing their power to convey a common meaning. Two different people could read the same thing and draw wildly different conclusions, almost predictably, based on their pre-affiliated tribe.

Perhaps, I could create a series of word-search puzzles that could celebrate misinterpretation, contradiction, and loss of meaning, where everybody could draw their own conclusion and choose something they could be upset about, together. I wanted it to appear beautiful and almost decorative at first, and really force people to dig out the little depressing poems inside.

Unfortunately, I didn’t really think too deeply about what it would take to conceive, design, and produce 26 custom individual sculptures, fabricated hundreds of times to create a variety of language and meaning. Each letter was a meticulous mini-project.”

— Graham Kelman

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