This book is the incarnation of the group show at WORK gallery, which presents a whopping 24 artists from Simon Faithfull, and Paola Di Bello to Sophy Rickett and Simon Cunningham. Inspired by Georges Bataille’s Surrealist journal, Documents (Paris 1929-1930), the book (and exhibition) expands on curator David Evans’ Critical Dictionary project, first developed as the online art journal criticaldictionary.com.
Disseminated in many forms, Critical Dictionary has a number of layered meanings reflecting the amorphous nature of contemporary artistic practice and its eventual distribution. As a publication, it’s visually stimulating from A to Z, playfully covering a number of topics along the way.
Evans claims “Critical Dictionary makes no attempt to be comprehensive or omniscient. Instead, there is an emphasis on de-classifying and un-defining a small handful of selected terms.” In this way the book is a success, however, an introduction would have been useful in order to build upon and add context around the exhibition and its connection with Bataille’s text, not only the namesake.