Road sign, manipulated, 'FORM 1 PLANET', aluminium / reflective tape, designed by Richard Tipping, Wangi Wangi, New South Wales, Australia, 1983-1992
This collection of Richard Tippings street signs link to city landscapes, advertising and the urban environment.
The artist Richard Tipping is known as a 'visual poet', he describes his work as 'concrete poetry', or poetry which appreciates words and even letters for the way they look, their aesthetic appeal as art objects. This is a unique commentary on Australian signage and public space. These manipulated road signs are a continuing theme in Tipping's visual punning and urban commentary.
These otherwise standard street signs completely alter the space they occupy, by physically altering existing signage and by inventing new signage using the standard design format as a template fresh meanings can be generated through these signs.
Richard Tipping's work is an Australian example of the European concrete poetry movement which appeared in the 1950s, going back to e.e.cummings. These signs combined with Tipping's 'Multiple pleasures' postcards, silkscreen prints and black and white photographs are an Australian link with an international movement. Richard Tipping has since the 1960s and 70s documented, manipulated and commented on street signage and advertising in the Australian landscape. This is a continuing theme in Tippings art, in the early 1970s his work was a commentary on signage around Australia with photographs of humorous signs in situ. In the late 1970s and 1980 Tipping started to manipulate the roadsigns themselves. Since the late 1980s Tipping has been making neon signs, where timing switches have allowed a shift in meaning, as words are lit within words. His work has been displayed over freeways, outside the Art Gallery of New South Wales and in the spaces of the Seymour theatre. Richard Tipping is still exploring the ownership of public spaces in the urban environment.
Anni Turnbull 2005
Richard Tipping's work (prints or multiples or sculptures) is represented in the National Gallery and National Library, Canberra, state art galleries and university libraries in Australia. Internationally he is represented in the State University of New York at Buffalo, The Ruth and Marvin Sackner Archive of Visual Concrete Poetry, Miami, The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, Plymouth, New Zealand.
Recent Exhibitions have included:
2003 'Signed signs Public artworks Programme, Brisbane Powerhouse
2003 National Sculpture prize and exhibition
1998: 'Perversions, subversion and verse 'Ubu Gallery', New York
1997:'Hear the Art' The Eagle Gallery, London
1996 'Multiple pleasures' The Art Gallery of New South Wales
1996 'Hear the Art' Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery
1994 Rhumbarellas Gallery- Melbourne,
1994 'Fluxus and Beyond' Queensland Art Gallery
1993-1994 'Lightworks', Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
1993 'Luminaries' Monash University Gallery, Melbourne
1993 '5th Australian Sculpture Triennial', Melbourne
1993 Chicago Art Fair
1992-1993 9th Biennale of Sydney: 'The Boundary Rider'
1992 'The Trial' National Gallery of Australia
Publications have included:
Road signs and visual art at www.euronet.nl/users/tempopo/traffic.htm/
'The Sydney Morning', Vols 1-1V, Thorny Devil Press 1989-1994
'Nearer By Far'(poems) University of Queensland Press,1986
'Signs of Australia', (photographs), Penguin Books, 1982
'The Friendly Street Poetry Reader (editor), AUUP, 1977
'Domestic Hardcore'(poems), UQP, 1975
Made according to standard road sign dimensions and with standard material. Australian roadsigns use an international standard design. Made by Broadly Signs, Newcastle.