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Dave Ball (b.1978, UK) is an artist based in Berlin and Wales.

He studied at Goldsmiths College, London (MA) and the University of Derby, UK (BA). His work explores absurdity, irrationality and the interaction between sense and non-sense. It asks: how are our rational understandings of the world constructed? What are the consequences of these rational structures? In what ways can it be productive to deliberately avoid rationality? And what alternative understandings of the world can be generated through absurd practices? He often uses humour as a way of exploring these ideas, and his work is generally characterised by a philosophical playfulness. Ball works in video, performance, drawing, and photography, and has worked on participatory projects in collaboration with artists and experts from other fields.
Ball has shown widely at venues including Oriel Mostyn, Wales; Laznia Center for Contemporary Art, Gdansk; NGBK, Berlin; Today Art Museum, Beijing; Iniva, London; Atelier 35, Bucharest; and Ha Gamle Prestegard, Norway. Residencies include Est-Nord-Est, Quebec, Canada; Künstlerhäuser Worpswede, Germany; and Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Wales.

Interview Berlin Artparasites


Artist Dave Ball reveals his masterwork: drawing the entries of the Concise Oxford Dictionary. We sit down to talk about the first stage of his endeavor, letter A. Grab a cup of coffee and join us!

A total work of art? The idea of Gesamtkunstwerk is indeed ambitious and ground-breaking, but it's still current. Dave Ball is working to conform a whole piece of art by visually representing words in alphabetic order as they appear in the dictionary. The young English artist has dedicated himself intensively throughout the past two years to complete the first part of a lifelong project: to draw – with some restrictions – the entries of the Concise Oxford Dictionary. Every word starting with the letter “A” is currently on display at Art Claims Impulse. Featuring over four hundred works, "A to Z: From Aardvark to Axle" is a collection of drawings and prints that hang frameless in three separate rooms. We sought the artist so he could give us some As to our Qs.

Ball wrote a manifesto with certain rules to narrow the infinite spectrum of words as he began his quest. “How many words are there? When you look at a dictionary, that’s the first thing you want to know. The answer is: there’s no answer. Dictionaries are all arbitrary selections. The most complete English dictionary, the Oxford Dictionary, has at the moment two million words and every year it grows and grows. So probably it is a pragmatic thing: I can’t make two million drawings. I chose the Concise Oxford Dictionary completely randomly – it was on my desk.”


Article by Sofía Martinelli


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