Border closures, flight cancellations, stay-at-home orders; a collective populace clinging to news broadcasts, online analysis, social media, and hearsay. Few times in our living memory had language – however fragmented, misinformed, measured or rhetorical – carried such weight.
The early iterations of Mountain of Salt, Bindi Vora’s expansive series of text-based collage works, began to take form in this very context. Comprising found photographs and digital shape collages, each married to phrases and statements appropriated from news articles, press conferences, and social media, the 371-strong series traces the interweaving social, political and ideological arcs of the early phases of the pandemic, the post-Brexit era, and Black Lives Matter, landing squarely on the potency of language. ‘I, like many others, became acutely aware of the landscape in which we were living in, where everything felt amplified,’ says Vora. ‘Clinging to the news for updates, statistics and curves … for me it highlighted the way words and speech have a physical presence, bearing upon us and carrying weight.’
Through a cacophony of visual and textual fragments, this book – the London-based artist’s first with Perimeter Editions – revels in the tension between the micro and macro, the individual and collective, and the personal and political, teasing out and making connections between the individual events and linguistic armatures that come to build broader historical eras and movements. The outcomes are incisive, sober, witty, and wry, magnifying language’s ability to both define and dispel the collective mood. Drowning in a morass of information, phrases, photographs, infographics, throwaway lines, and revolutionary dictums, Vora’s visually poetic works echo the unfixed contemporary state. A place where alarm, agitation, desensitisation, and bemusement seem to intersect. Where words – free of hierarchy, nuance, and context – prove as absurd as they are critical. Mountain of Salt reads as a resolve to use them with great care.
448 pgs, 19 × 15 cm, Softcover, 2023,