writing art

Chinese poem (writing exercise), cursive script. photo © Kolja Quakernack
Chinese poem (writing exercise), cursive script. photo © Kolja Quakernack

 In the Chinese tradition, the texts of old masters from past dynasties are copied over and over again in order to use them to understand the aesthetics and anatomy of the characters. Only in old age, after decades of learning and with the help of accumulated wisdom, can your own style mature.

 

In the West, artists experiment in a much more detached manner from the instructions of the experienced. They often try to discover their own creativity and implement it without relying too much on the old teachings.

 

I'm on both paths with my brush: my Asian path winds like a stony trail through the foggy, seemingly endless mountains of learning. This means practicing individual strokes for many hours, immersing yourself in individual characters for weeks, copying numerous texts by Chinese calligraphers and trying to follow their rhythm, their thoughts and feelings. My western path resembles an asphalt road landscape with junctions, dead ends and side bends that want to be discovered. When I get stuck, I turn around, let go and look curiously around the next corner. Inspiration and ideas, shapes and patterns, norms and values - they all want to be discovered and experienced.

 

I combine these two paths, the Far Eastern and the Western, in my brush strokes. The hard work and rigor of Chinese teaching, the Japanese mindfulness and the creativity and inventiveness that the Germans are said to have: they can all be found in my brushstrokes.

Chinese poem (writing exercise), cursive script. photo © Kolja Quakernack
Chinese poem (writing exercise), cursive script. photo © Kolja Quakernack