The Modern Language Experiment presents:
The Wolfson Syndrome

27th May - 18th June 2011
Prevate View Friday 27th May 2011, 6pm to 9pm

Louis Wolfson is an American writer who is most known for his contributions to language. Upon escaping an insane asylum in the 1950s, he began to dedicate his life towards developing his "own" language to counter his deep-rooted fear of the English language. For example, he contemplated words he feared such as "ladies" by attempting to use the German "Leute" before settling on the Russian "Lyudi". By doing so, he soon found that the re-appropriation of other languages allowed him to communicate within his own.

Wolfson's condition stems from a desire to reject the reality that is presented to him, one that he perceives as vulgar and repulsive, in favour of a new and unfamiliar language. Gilles Deleuze, in his book "The Logic of Sense" describes this language as being the foreign 'expressive', rather then the 'alimentary' mother tongue. This mechanism allows Wolfson to finally exist and interact, albeit with some limitation. During our email correspondence with writer, Kevin McCann regarding his article "Good-night Lyudi" in Cabinet Magazine no.37, he stated that:

 "Borrowing from other languages helps to transform the familiar, enchant what habit has made dull and familiar and therefore invisible".

This exhibition is interested in what we have termed 'The Wolfson Syndrome'. The artists of this show including James Brooks, Gary Colclough, Gia Edzgveradze, Rainer Ganahl, Tina Hage, Gerard Hemsworth, Mark Lewis, Jon Moscow, David Rickard, Nicola Reed & Barbara Hoogeweegen utilise the framework laid down by Wolfson to contribute a vibrant and lively discourse. Many of them, like Wolfson, borrow from the languages of mediums other than their own, while some go even further by reappropriating languages from music, ASCII code and cartoons to allow the true nature of their expression to be conveyed. Others however, demonstrate the same struggle that existed for Wolfson through their own processes.

The combination of the above symptoms lead to an examination of how 'The Wolfson Syndrome' manifests itself in art practice today.

James Brooks
Gary Colclough
Gia Edzgveradze
Rainer Ganahl
Tina Hage
Gerard Hemsworth
Mark Lewis
Jon Moscow
David Rickard
Nicola Reed & Barbara Hoogeweegen

Catalogues, with a foreward by writer Kevin McCann, are available at the exhibtion or you can order one by emailing

Talk with Kevin McCann Wednesday 1st June 2011, 7-9pm

Film Screening curated by Georgia Korossi Sat 11th June 2011
Screening Times: 2.30pm - 4pm & 5.30 - 7pm
Venue: The screening will take place at the Gallery.

Chambre 666 (ROOM 666) by Wim Wenders (1982) 50'
Image of a City by Gabriel Le Bayon (2011) 10'
Willesden Laundrette, Reverse Dolly, Pan Right, Friday Prayers, 4k transferred to 2k, by Mark Lewis (2010) 4.40'

Georgia Korossi is curator of moving image based in London and Athens.

We will close the exhibition with a Q & A session on Saturday 18th June 2011, with the artists, curators and invited critics. We are very pleased to announce that Jeremy Akerman and Ami Clarke will form part of the panel discussion group.

The Wolfson Syndrome

The Modern Language Experiment
Basement, Dragon Court
27-29 Macklin Street, London, WC2B 5LX

Exhibition hours: Wednesday to Saturday (11am to 7pm)
+ special Sunday opening 29th May
or by appointment

Nearest Tube: Holborn