Today I posted on LinkedIn an image with the text “Ink and acrylic on paper.”
Noa Yaari, Ink and Acrylic on Paper. 2020. Mixed media. Toronto.
Since then, I’ve been thinking about the connection between the title of the artwork and its technique. In Hebrew, “Adam” means a human being. “Ben” means a son. These are not adjectives like “Amir,” which means tall, but rather nouns that position their agent within fundamental categories such as humanity and family.
What happens then when we title or name an artwork by “Ink and Acrylic on Paper”? Does this name function like “Adam” or like “Amir”? Does it point to the essence of the artwork or one of its features?
Let’s think about a dog whose name is “Adam.” Does “Adam,” in this case, mean something else than a man? Do we understand “Adam” differently when it names a man, on the one hand, and a dog, on the other?
It would amuse us to call a (male) dog “Adam” since on a fundamental level, dogs and humans are different, although we share many traits, and we love one another. According to the book of Genesis, God created “Adam” as a man distinguishing him from other creatures, that are signified by different names. Calling a dog “Adam” blurs this distinction.
So, what happens when we name an artwork by “Ink and Acrylic on Paper”? Do we, through the name, point to the essence of the artwork or its features? Or perhaps both? As well, does it matter if we write the technique of this artwork next to its title and whether it’s ink and acrylic on paper?