Hamburger Kunsthalle just opened a big groupshow under the title «Art and Alphabet» – a perfect match for a blog with the title «Parole, parole, parole…»! Although I’m presenting more images than texts in the last time, but that might hopefully change again soon.
Here we see the work «Abetare» from the year 2015 by Petrit Halilaj (*1986) who comes from Kosovo. Petrit Halilaj uses the cute design of his old school book with its playful illustrations to turn them into a wallpaper installation. This book uses the traditional way of teaching the alphabet by connecting each letter with a word and a drawing. Petrit Halilaj learned the Albanian language with this book like all of the other children in the 1990ies – at a time when the suppression of the Albanian population through the Serbian government was at its peak.
So the winsome pictures tell also a different and hidden story about the process of inheriting a language and of transfering it together with its certain cultural knowledge to form single stories into a history. •
This is the work «Corner Exclamation» by US-American artist Richard Artschwager (1923 – 2013) in the big groupshow at Hamburger Kunsthalle with the title «Art and Alphabet» which deals with the love of artists for type, lettertype, words and language. ⠀
Artschwager is known for combining concept art, pop art and minimal art, some say to create an idosyncratic artistic language of its own. ⠀
This «!» here seems to me like the famous «!» by German fashion designer Wolfgang Joop who used it as a logotype for his brand troughout the 1980ies and 1990. Like fashion in general Richard Artschwager’s art engages with the question of social space and with spacial structure. The punctuation marks – quasi the accessories of language – were of special interest for him and therefore he dedicated a whole collection to them. ⠀
Here the «!» is forced to stay forever folded in the corner, but nevertheless seems to be outfitted with the unbroken will to shout out loud and to make a clear statement about its physical presence. •
Here we see the installation «Buchstabenzirkus» («Circus of type») from 1979 by German artist Michael Bauch (*1951) in the big group show at Hamburger Kunsthalle with the title «Art and Alphabet» which deals with the love of artists for type, lettertype, words and language. ⠀
Michael Bauch frees the letters from their duty to stay connected and to express a certain message. ⠀
The artist found the type at at a stationary and at the car wash «Mr. Wash». ⠀
These characters definitely know what they want and they want it now! They swirl around the hierarchy between text and image and invite us to throw some connotations in the air. ⠀
To me they seem to be inspired by the playful design and intense colors of Memphis Milano and I could easily imagine to live with them and to give their abstract forms a specific new function. •⠀
Title image: The artwork «Untitled» («Nu Descendant Un Escalier») from the year 2004 – 06 by Bethan Huws (*1961) from Great Britain in the exhibition «Art and alphabet» at Hamburger Kunsthalle | Photo: Norbert Bayer