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Wiesbaden: The Art of Writing

In 2009 we shared with you the work of Khaled Al-Saai, whose stunning works of mixed calligraphy and painting blow our minds every time we take a gander (view here). Thanks to the Written Art Foundation and the curating efforts of Heinz Kroehl, PhD, Khaled Al-Saai's works, and those of 99 other artists working with written words, are currently on display in Wiesbaden, Germany. The Art of Writing, as documented by euronews, includes artwork from parts of the world that are well-known for celebrating the aesthetic quality of letters: Japan, Korean, China, the Middle East, Iran and Iraq. Also included are European works that have also utilized the written character for its visual expressiveness.

video stills © euronews.net

"I believe that Asian art has given us decisive impetus since the middle of the last century, the 20th century, impetus to the complete art of painting, basically, for the Americans and the Europeans, how paintings are being composed," explains Heinz Kroehl. Kroehl is best-known for his work in corporate identity, chiefly with the 1987 publication of Communication Design 2000: A Handbook for All Who Are Concerned With Communication, Advertising and Design (perhaps ahead of its time).

The Art of Writing accompaniment text refers to writing as "the mother of all arts."
What’s surprising is that artists in the Middle and Far East are only today finally casting off the constraints of prescribed written characters and are now creating a new abstract form of art in the course of their search for an individual identity. This presentation shows works of the highest quality, but also aspires to be more than just a showcase of top artwork. The goal is to instead illustrate and introduce to the viewer a very specific phenomenon. The artistic tangencies, overlaps and cross-fertilization between the cultures show that there is a world language of written art. This is the first juxtaposition of its kind ever to be attempted. The publication accompanying the exhibition demonstrates the power this art form derives from its origins and its development over the course of time.
The Art of Writing: Pictures are written publisher's summary

video still © euronews.net

The transformation of calligraphy-as-art is well-observed in Al-Saai's paintings, in which he shows a mastery of ancient techniques of writing, embedded into abstract landscapes of a personal nature. "I'm happy to deal just with Arabic letters because... it has its own richness... it has a great potential of playing more," says Al-Saai. "...Anything in words could be written in Arabic in more than 3,000 different ways. Imagine..."

video stills © euronews.net

After wrapping up in Wiesbaden, the exhibition will move to Boston, then Beijing.

"The Art of Writing"
Wiesbaden ArtForum in der Kurhaus Kolonnade

29 April – 6 June 2011 open daily 10am - 8pm
official website

You can view the euronews video article "Writing on the wall" here >>

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