Fifty-five thousand little signposts are fixed on a large platform. A different word is glued onto each one. The words, cut out of a dictionary, are in alphabetical order.

Rober Racine

(b. Montréal 1956)


Le Terrain du dictionnaire A/Z

[The Dictionary Terrain A/Z]


Styrofoam, wooden sticks, cardboard and paper

16 x 853 x 731 cm

Purchased in 1982

Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, A 82 75 I1

© Rober Racine. Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay

Le Terrain du dictionnaire A/Z [The Dictionary Terrain A/Z] is a platform on which the 55,000 entry words of a dictionary are aligned. Cut from two copies of the 1979 Le Petit Robert, the words were glued onto cards and mounted on pegs, which were then planted in a polystyrene foam base. This project was carried out over an extended period of time. The cutting-out and gluing steps alone required nearly a year’s work. Subsequently, Racine undertook the colossal project Pages-Miroirs [Mirror-Pages] (1980-1994), for which he mounted the front and back of each page from the two mutilated dictionaries on polyester mirrors, allowing the viewer’s reflection to fill the space of the excised words.

Rober Racine is a visual artist, musician and writer. The development of each of his works, principally installations and performances, is a lengthy process. His multidisciplinary practice is based on large-scale conceptual projects that require systematic and detailed work. And owing to his special interest in linguistic codes, text is a central component. The Dictionary Terrain A/Z reflects Racine’s exploration of Le Petit Robert dictionary, which has influenced his art since the late 1970s. His relationship to words, which he reprises and reorganizes in different forms, is the common thread in a body of work that spans more than thirty years.


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