Asemy - writing as a corporal gesture


„In a unique region of the corporal expression, painting and writing must have originated in the same non-figurative and non-semantic gesture which must have simply been a result of rhythm”. (Roland Barthes)

”Asemy” revolves around the subject of asemic writing, researched through the direct interaction with the public. Works on canvas, objects, photography and public space interventions are all facets of the process.

Dodecahedron, 40 cm side and photomontage

Public space intervention

Freed of any understandable content, the asemic writing is a purely visual form of writing, sometimes similar to the primitive systems of writing and to the proto-writing; it is the ”reader” who should add the meaning and give it an interpretation, in a process similar to understanding an abstract painting. The open nature of the asemic text allows meaning to manifest ”translinguistically” - an asemic text can be read in a similar way regardless the native language of the ”reader” and the same text can have several meanings. 

Henri Michaux, Narration, 1927

I believe that writing as a corporal gesture is best manifested in our signature: we don`t try to clearly write our names, but instead we make a written gesture that represents us. I walked on the streets of Bucharest and asked people to leave their signature on my canvases, trying to create a `collective gestualism`. Having the public interaction as a core tool of my process, the making of the works was enriched with the flavor of a nomad art, opening a territory of unexpected experiences and happenings impossible to predict.

2 canvases, 100x140cm, marker, acrylic

First stage, marker on canvas

The experiment relates to the postliteracy era, the gesture of writing becomes mesmerising, unique. It is mysterious as it encodes information by its own quality of being „handmade” and undecipherable as compared to typographic writing.

The Dodecahedron is one of the Platonic solids described in the dialogue Timaeus (360 b. Ch) Each of these geometric shapes corresponds to a natual element - tetrahedron/fire, octahedron/air, icosahedron/water, hexahedron/earth. About the dodecahedron, Platon mentions that God used it to set the constellations on the sky. 

Working on this project gave me the chance to make specific sociological observations. One of them was related to stating the identity through signature. In the absence of any directions regarding where to sign on the canvas or on the huge dodecahedron, the `crowd` covers the space equally, as a fluid that fills all the available space. At first, the signatures are big, loose, gestual but, as the space is slowly covered by signs, people make their signatures smaller and smaller so that they integrate their sign on any small part of white space that is left and so that they don`t intefere with somebody else`s gesture - I noticed that, for each of them, it is very important that their signature is visible. 

The affirmation of each participant`s personality through the signature seemed obvious to me - it was very difficult to convince them to sign over somebody else`s signature. Even when I told them they have this possibility, they preferred to search for their own small space rather than to interfere with others` signatures. After talking to them, I interpreted this behavior, on the one hand, as a sign of respect for the limits of another person`s identity and, on the other hand, as the refuse to merge into the crowd and anonymity (contrast between `autograph` and `common gestualism`).

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