5 de out de 2008

Brody Neuenschwander (1958)

Brody Neuenschwander is a calligrapher and text artist whose work explores the boundaries between text and image. In many of his collages and large painted works image and text merge into one another, suggesting that the two may be read according to the same set of rules. Other works contradict this very idea, suggesting that there may be no way of reconciling these two fundamental ways of reading the world.

Calligraphy is central to this exploration. Writing can be legible or illegible, aesthetic or merely functional; it can be a language we know or a mysterious code. His works display an astonishing range of calligraphic expressions. Some styles are inspired by Neuenschwander’s studies of Arabic and Chinese calligraphy. Others are pure fantasy, like the work of Dotremont. Taken together, the works reveal an unlimited capacity to explore the line, the mark and the gesture.

This use of calligraphy as an artistic medium is not without its hazards. Calligraphy, like classical ballet, requires long years of study to master. Discipline and an understanding of materials are required. But for calligraphy to rise to the condition of art, it must go beyond these material considerations. It is for this reason that Neuenschwander places his work in the context of modern conceptual art. In one work, the image of Joseph Beuys opens a dialogue with an artist who was a prolific writer and teacher. In another, the word «Orientalism» undermines the idea that calligraphy must always be associated with the East.

Neuenschwander has collaborated with film director Peter Greenaway on a series of films, operas and exhibitions, culminating in the cult film «The Pillow Book». These projects have brought him wide recognition in the art world as well as a dedicated following among graphic designers, typographers and graffiti artists. Neuenschwander has exhibited internationally for many years. His work is in many public and private collections and has won several prizes, including the Belle Lettere international prize for calligraphy, the D&AD Silver Award and the arts medal of the president of Italy.