Christopher Knowles

Knowles' 'typings' build up words and phrases into intricate multi-coloured patterns using an electric typewriter.

Christopher Knowles is best known for his 'typings' of the 1970s and 80s, text-based pieces that were developed as a private pastime. The exceptional ability in mathematical organisation revealed in these works is a characteristic by-product of autism, with which Knowles was diagnosed as a child. His work also reveals affinities with the structure of serial art and music, and has a strong relationship to performance (the artist has also made live and recorded performances of his texts).

Knowles' typings employ lists of words and phrases, including those derived from pop charts as well as other words and phrases from the artist's life. Additional features include geometrical patterns, carefully built up using the artist's initial, 'C'. The works were created on an electric typewriter, using red, black and green inks, and the pieces exhibited here were made in 1980 on scrolls of rice paper.

Christopher Knowles was born 1959 in New York, where he still lives. His wider public exposure dates from his meeting, in 1973 at the age of fourteen, with the theatre director Robert Wilson. The latter had heard an audio recording by Knowles, and asked him to collaborate and perform with his company, a partnership that continues today. Knowles first exhibited in 1974, and had two solo exhibitions at Holly Solomon Gallery in 1978 and 1979.

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