November 11, 2020

Paul Chan at Greene Naftali

Paul Chan's exhibit at Greene Naftali is a series of drawings he created for Ludwig Wittgenstein's Word Book, a dictionary he created for teaching children in rural Austria after leaving Cambridge
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About the Exhibit - Drawings for Word Book by Ludwig Wittgenstein

Paul Chan’s exhibit, Drawings for Word Book by Ludwig Wittgenstein, at Greene Naftali Gallery in Chelsea, New York, is on view from November 6th to December 19th, 2020. 

Paul Chan
“The artist’s fifth solo exhibition at the gallery, Drawings for Word Book by Ludwig Wittgenstein features a series of drawings Chan created as illustrations for his latest publication, Word Book, which was published in the fall of 2020.” (source
Paul Chan
Paul Chan

The story behind Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Word Book is fascinating, and I completely understand why Chan felt inspired to create drawings for it.

Paul Chan

Ludwig Wittgenstein was a professor at Cambridge until he became “tired of prostituting his mind for smart people,” and he quit and became an elementary school teacher in rural Austria. In order to help his students learn he created a ‘dictionary’ or ‘Word Book’ to help his students learn. 

Paul Chan
Paul Chan
“Word Book is an utterly unique work from a formidable philosopher who ended up learning from his students about what it means to understand the world, and a testament to how a mind is changed, if one is willing to let go of a certain idea of who one happens to be.” - Paul Chan (source
Paul Chan
Paul Chan
Paul Chan
“The spirit of authority is not what motivates the drawings and the book. It’s rather the notion that one’s strength is really one’s weakness, which makes possible the idea that one’s weakness—given the right circumstances or frame of mind—may be one’s real strength.”  - Paul Chan (source
Paul Chan

Paul Chan created the drawings to accompany the book by using his left hand to continue with the themes of “alternative forms of belief, like mysticism and “black” magic.”

Paul Chan
“I like drawing with my left hand because it feels as if different stakes about what matters on paper became visible to me. Maybe that’s all we’re ever looking for in making any work: new ways to see the stakes that matter.”  - Paul Chan (source
Paul Chan

Video of the Exhibit

To see a walkthrough of the exhibit, skip ahead to 10:59 in the video below.

About the Artist - Paul Chan 

Paul Chan is an American artist that lives and works in New York. 

Paul Chan

He received his BFA in Video/Digital Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He received his MFA from Bard College.

Paul Chan

He received the Hugo Boss Prize which “honors outstanding achievement in contemporary art” in 2014. 

Paul Chan
“Chan has exhibited his work at the Venice Biennale, the Whitney Biennial, documenta, the Serpentine Gallery, the Museum of Modern Art, the New Museum, and other institutions.” (source
Paul Chan

He’s represented by Greene Naftali Gallery in New York.

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