This exposition focuses on my 35-year-long project to visualise every word in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary in alphabetical order, A to Z. Begun in 2011, the point of departure here is a particular moment in the unfolding of the project: the recent completion of the final D-word, “dystopia”. A to Z is premised upon the carrying out of a defined conceptual rule: a “tactically absurd” commitment to a lifetime of artistic effort, whose ostensible folly gives rise to an ever-expanding body of work that appears arbitrary, unwarranted, and nonsensical, but which, through its playful insistence, might also be understood as operating in a new and alternative realm of sense.


Dave Ball is an artist and researcher, and lectures at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Working in a range of media including drawing, video, photography, performance, and object-based work, his conceptual art practice employs the device of “tactical absurdity” in order to find ways of destabilising meaning. Ball completed a PhD at Winchester School of Art in 2020, and a Master’s degree at Goldsmiths, University of London in 2007. Solo exhibitions of his work include Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Wales, Gallery Oldham, England, and Galerie Art Claims Impulse, Berlin; group exhibitions include NGBK, Berlin, Villa Arson, Nice, Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art, Gdansk, and Optica, Montreal.

Keywords: absurdity, absurd, conceptual art, rule-based art, edurance art, performance, drawing, photography

Language: English

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