Report from Geneva: ‘When Writing Says the Shadows of the Soul’
When Writing Says the Shadows of the Soul
An ambitious exhibition brings together contemporary artists and creators of art brut to explore the unknown lands of graphic gesture.
From the Paleolithic, humanity has sought to translate the world into glyphs and figures in stone, as an imperative necessity. Then registration, being written, became a communication tool. From the beginning of the 20th century to the present day, various scriptural experiences have gone beyond this semantic function to venture into the territories of the inexpressible – and, therefore, of the illegible -, by exploring the aesthetic power of the sign through the scroll, automatism, repetition or scribbling.
“Scrivere Disegnando” (“Writing while drawing”) testifies to the richness of these experiments around writing and its shadow at the Center for Contemporary Art (CAC). The fruit of a collaboration with the Collection of art brut in Lausanne, this ambitious display brings together around a hundred personalities from both the avant-garde and the contemporary scene as well as from the world of art brut, including representatives often carried out their activity in psychiatric asylum.
Spiritual Alphabet and Trance
“We have not established a hierarchy, either over time or between authors,” explains Andrea Bellini, director of the ACC. Because all the works express the expression of the very human need to reclaim writing, to transcend its meaning to invest its creative power. ” They also underline the intimate and obvious relationship that has always existed between writing and drawing. Note that research “yielding to the temptation of painting, to the complacency of color”, was in principle excluded from the exhibition.
On the second floor, the inaugural room attests to the important role that Geneva has played in the history of these practices. We discover the Martian alphabet conceived in a spiritist trance by the medium Catherine Élise Müller, made famous in a book by the Geneva psychologist Théodore Flournoy under the name of Hélène Smith. This language of the spirits of the end of the XIXth century is reincarnated at the ACC in chalk on a huge blackboard by the grace of Otto, a small robot writer created by the Zurich artist Jürg Lehni. The meeting between an expression coming from occult depths and its reflex notation by a machine crystallizes all the intention of “Scrivere Disegnando”: it is in the alliance of the soul and the gesture that we communicate with the invisible .
Reinventing the Universe
Some constitute alphabets, such as Palanc and his paintings made with eggshell, others develop a real cosmos, like the Luigi Serafini. Entitled “Codex Seraphinianus”, the visionary masterpiece of this Italian architect and designer reinvents the universe in the manner of manuscripts from the Middle Ages, mixing Asemic language (meaningless) and surreal illustrations, in order to constitute an encyclopedia, universal because incomprehensible.
Medieval times are also evoked by the prodigious company of Reinhold Metz, who engaged, at the age of 31, in the project of copying by hand the “Don Quixote” of Cervantès in a calligraphic and illuminated version. Executed with brightly colored inks, this eminently plastic creation is more contemplated than read. And seals alone the essential union of image and word.
“Scrivere Disegnando. When the language seeks its other ” Until May 3 at the CAC, 10, rue des Vieux-Grenadiers. centre.ch
Original Article in Italian: https://www.tdg.ch/news/news/ecriture-dit-ombreslme/story/10067824