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Brad Thiele
Brooklyn, NY
Neighborhood: Clinton Hill



ARTIST STATEMENT: my earliest memory of language play is of one spring when i was 4 or 5, and not knowing its rightful name, i called a cardinal a ‘red jay’ after the more prominent blue jay variety. i remembered this instance years later while studying abroad in germany, where learning a new language had me communicationally tongue-tied as my proficiency was even less than a toddler’s-- my baby steps meant holding fast to a vocabulary of basic words to work in my favor, much like the ‘red jay’ substitute. i turned to wordplay for creative and adaptive support, bridging the sameness and separateness between german and english, opening my artistic interests to shared and contradicting meanings, what it is to misunderstand and altogether the ways in which we deem communication successful.

another bird-related anecdote: trauben in german means ‘grapes’, while tauben may refer to pigeons-- you can imagine what kind of juice you don’t want to be asking for in a restaurant or offering to a friend.

today i reformat everyday language and common materials specifically through wordplay, invoking the kind of misunderstanding and alternative communication that i found most compelling while in germany. by infusing conceptual language play and process-based execution with deadpan humor, logic games and purposeful misunderstanding, i further language’s drastically absurd to subtly poetic spectrum through an equally varied cache of linguistic collage, drawing, printing and object and literary manipulation, encouraging us to see anew our most basic, yet intimate relationship with language and the world around us.

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