Yael Kanarek
Lemon, 2008
Straight pins, loctite, rubber words in 49 languages
Approx. 66 x 90 in / 168 x 228 cm

Lemon is a meticulous construction made using the word ‘lemon’ in 40 languages: Dutch, Maltese, Afrikaans, Catalan, Galician, Papiamentu, Swahili, Thai, Southern Chinese, Tongan, Irish, Albanian, Slovene, Wolof, Basque, Portuguese, Italian, Bulgarian, Russian, Macedonian, Serbian, Croatian, Romanian, Papago, Spanish, Greek, Turkish, Old French and Old Italian, Farsi, Urdu, Hebrew, Arabic, Bengali, Hindi, Assamese, Chinese, Uyghur, Korean, English.

Exploring the territorial properties of language, rubber in this work is shaped into text and glued together- forming a surface that at once references topographic aerial view and domestic craft, such as crochet. ‘Lemon’, as a word, captures evidence of human activity: trade, conquer and migration. The phonetic association of this word is apparent from Japan to Latin America via the Mediterranean.

The piece also references the first line in William Carlos Williams’ poem “Perfection”. Kanarek replaces Williams’ apple with lemon: “Oh lovely [apple] lemon! Beautiful and completely rotten”.


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