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Words to Go

Word stickers by The Word Company


16 Aufkleber mit Protonymen
Insgesamt 16 Variationen (vier Wörter in vier verschiedenen Farben) können während der Gruppenausstellung »INSIDE OUT« von den Besuchern im Ausstellungsverlauf mitgenommen werden. An acht Stellen innerhalb der Ausstellung stehen diese zur Auwahl. Allerdings wird immer nur eine Teilauswahl verfügbar sein, die täglich ausgewechselt wird.
Offset, 142 x 105 mm, 1999


16 sticker with protonyms
Visitors can choose from a total of sixteen variations (four words in four different colors) during the course of the group show »INSIDE OUT«. From the eight sites in the exhibition where the stickers are presented there will, however, only be a partial, daily rotated selection available.
Offset, 142 x 105 mm, 1999

The Word Company

Since its foundation in 1994 The Word Company has been devoted to the production and distribution of new words. It is the German conceptual artist Adib Fricke who is behind the one man firm, which has so far developed 16 new words, among them onomono, methos, flogo, avanz, and explom. The words, the so-called protonyms, always appear in a materialised form, for example on big billboards, stamps, signs, posters, or as wall paintings.

As any other company The Word Company promotes its products with snazzy slogans. With expressions like »Ready to Mean« or »And you thought you knew words« Fricke plays on the direct address of the consumer employed in mass communication. However, this does not mean that Fricke’s works should be construed as a direct criticism of consumerism.

With Fricke the political comment is rather to be found in the open nature of the message. It is crucial that the words contain absolutely no meaning. By consulting various dictionaries and linguists Fricke has sought to ascertain that the words do not already exist. The words have no real meaning, neither are they classified in regard to word classes, nor do they belong to any particular language.

Exactly because the words are without specific meaning Fricke has been denied copyright protection on his protonyms. This suggests the basically absurd character of the project. The Word Company is the impossible idea of a firm, whose product defies definition. This imparts an absurd dimension to the project, which can also be found in the humorous slogans. It is especially the absurd dimension which emphasises the overall idea. By producing and distributing words Fricke in a very explicit way explores how meaning comes into existence and develops.

In Overgaden Adib Fricke exhibits the words SMORP, MIPSEL, YEMMELS and RITOB in the shape of stickers which the visitor can take with him. The words thus get the opportunity of being further distributed around the town, and maybe getting different meanings in new contexts. The stickers will be a visible trail of the dispersion of the words, and, in a wider sense, of the epidemic character of general language development.


—Pernille Albrethsen

»Inside Out«
Curated by Henriette Bretton-Meye, Jul.16th – Aug. 29th, 1999,
Overgaden – The Exhibition Hall of the Ministry of Culture, Copenhagen,
texts by Pernille Albrethsen.

©2004–2018 Adib Fricke, adibfricke.com.