The Contemporary Museum of Calligraphy has celebrated its first anniversary. The museum features works of art from all over the world portraying the versatile nature of this art. In calligraphy, which is, by most moderate estimates, over one thousand years old, the beauty of the image meets the expressiveness of the word. Novosti Kultury (Culture News) have found out what the calligraphy of the e-mail and digital graphics age looks like.
Just as every educated Russian must be able to write in a cursive hand, every oriental cultured personage must be a master of calligraphy, which is studied at schools down there. For instance, every South Korean is obliged to be proficient in rhythmical drawing of line after line, holding her breath and sweating from her brow. Kim Jong Chil, a South Korean calligraphy guru has recently conducted a master-class in Moscow.
“In Korean, the word “calligraphy” sounds like “skho-ye”; if you look at it from here, the letters would resemble Chinese characters,” he explained. The coincidence is not accidental for until the 15th century the Korean alphabet was composed of Chinese hieroglyphs and some of them remained incorporated to this day. Kim Jong Chil has conducted an express intensive calligraphy course while it takes much more than a few hours to really master the art of beautiful handwriting. Kim Jong Chil has brought some of his works where he had used Russian Cyrillic Cursive handwriting, e.g. a quote from Pushkin’s Life (poem) and the words “happiness”, “joy”, and “love”.
Kim Jong Chil, calligrapher and artist (South Korea), “Basically, I emphasized the cursive; I studied the way Russians write. I realized they had a very creative style and I wanted to become part of it and make some artistic suggestions.”
These days, calligraphy no longer retains its practical application. Now it dwells solely in the realm of contemporary art. Viktor Nikolayev works with abstract calligraphy and is famous for his outstanding performances featuring actors mimicking the movements of his brush on stage.
Sergei Kuzhavsky defines his work and natural calligraphy. He lets most of his work “run its own course”. The unique Contemporary Museum of Calligraphy opened in Moscow around a year ago featuring only modern artists“ works and no ancient artifacts. Here you’ll see for yourself that Tartar calligraphy is much akin to the Arab one, for the Tartars had been writing only in Arabic from late 11th century up to 1928.
Yelena Isayeva, Museum Curator, “People who drop by occasionally and who have been unaware of the stuff, often say, ”Gosh, I wonder why all this beauty has been passing me by!”“
A World Famous Mezuzah listed into the Guinness World Records, created by Avraham Borshevsky, a renowned Israeli calligrapher and artist is one of the museum’s hottest new arrivals. While the Hebrews experiment with the contents and form, contemporary Chinese calligraphers appear to be holding on to age-long tradition.
Chen Wenfu, calligrapher and artist (China), “It is no wonder Chinese calligraphy stands apart from all other kinds of penmanship: firstly, we always use the same unique characters, secondly, we always use the same brush, and thirdly, we always draw our inspiration from our rich cultural heritage.”
The artists” writing utensils, styles, scripts, and even postures at work vary greatly, which has been more than apparent at a joint master-class conducted at the Contemporary Museum of Calligraphy: Korean Kim Jong Chil: slithering and hovering a few inches above the floor, Russian Yuri Koverdyayev: hunched and stiff at a desk, and Chinese Chen Wenfu: towering and serene in his standing posture.
Yelena Isayeva, Museum Curator, “Calligraphy, first and foremost, is all about reflecting the artist’s inner, spiritual state. Yes, it is a work of art, yes, it can be analyzed, it can be dissected into parts and sections, yes, you can study every stroke, but you should bear in mind it’s all a result of one’s state of mind; the emotions spilled on paper.”
Calligraphy has become part and parcel of visual arts. Today it is successfully applied in science as well, e.g. nanotechnology allows doing calligraphy on a wing of a fly extremely easily.Back to list