The work of Ron Terada acts as a satellite for the exhibition Béton in public space: a billboard positioned next to Kunsthalle Wien Karlsplatz presenting the text Concrete Language, which questions the function of language as an objective semiotic system.
Ron Terada’s artistic work deals with questions of authorship and appropriation, language and its contextual meaning. Especially encounters with texts in public spaces, the conventions they follow and the resulting interpretations, interest the Canadian artist, who explores the semiotics of everyday life in many different ways. Terada’s photo works and installations in urban environments specifically question the function of language as an objective semiotic system. By adopting the aesthetics of advertising surfaces, neon writing, and billboards only to show them at places with little commercial potential, he presents viewers with a new perspective. The artist plays with the signal effect of certain words or the appellative function of signs, which he takes to the point of absurdity or invests with new meaning by placing them in an unusual context. “See Other Side of Sign” is the instruction on a sign set up at a derelict site in front of a backdrop of prefabricated concrete components.
Prior to Ron Terada’s artistic intervention on Karlsplatz, artists Ken Lum and Pierre Bismuth also developed site specific billboards playing with the subtexts of advertising campaigns and construction signs.