Dual Language - German / English
Introduction to the book by the author
This catalogue is being published on the occasion of my 50th birthday and my exhibition in the German Newspaper Museum Wadgassen I am pleased and honoured to exhibit my works here and am very thankful for the trust that Dr. Munch, the Director of the German Newspaper Museum
Wadgassen, has shown in me. This catalogue represents a summary of my 30 years as a calligrapher and artist and my 25-year teaching career. This article gives a very personal insight into the development of my work and describes the journey that brought me to where I am today.
Over the past 30 years, I have had the pleasure of meeting important calligraphers from many countries and have also taught courses in several of these countries. Hundreds of students in various design training programs and hundreds of course participants of all ages and backgrounds have travelled with me along my path. Thus over time my horizon broadened, my eye was trained and my confidence and judgment increased. This text is written from the point of view of an enthusiastic calligrapher, who was trained in the 1980s by excellent teachers to become a Communication Designer, and today mainly works as an artist. During my studies, in which writing was still largely done "by hand" and the observer viewed an original work, there were hundreds of outstanding professional calligraphers worldwide. With the advent of computers at the end of the 1980s, many of these calligraphers had to change their field of work. As a representative of a "middle generation," who was able to learn all painting and drawing techniques without the aid of computers, I travel today along my own path to which my teaching mentors led me.
I chose Roots and Wings as the title for the exhibition and for this catalogue. My roots are found in my family, in Germany, in my training and in the cultural assets of our Latin alphabet and tradition. Over time my roots have deepened, even though powerful cross currents have at times shaken them to the core. Without first being rooted in culture and tradition it is impossible to venture into new territory. It is necessary to leave the conventional path and seek something new, to experiment and to explore, and in the process to make new discoveries that lead to a broader artistic expression.
The roots of our alphabet are reflected in my work. They are found in pictographic writing systems, out of which our 26 letters have developed over a 30, 000 year period. Pictures, the symbols of a multi-dimensional archetype of a collective unconsciousness throughout the world, rooted
in all societies that have revealed themselves differently in each culture. Pictures, traces of which are still to be found in Chinese or Sino-Japanese writing symbols, which we call ideograms. These early pictures have manifested themselves in our Latin alphabet to express our thoughts and our language as a symbol: sketches that have taken on form and were made abstract, so that they can be represented through simple graphic symbols. What an unbelievable, fantastic discovery of humankind!
It is impossible to fly without first being rooted in the basics. Only when the sensitive hand accomplishes what it has learned without hesitation can personal expression be attempted. Hands guide pens and move them as in rhythmic dance. Flourishes give the words wings. Writing as dance
becomes writing as picture becomes writing as art.
This is an amazing book!! Katharina tells her calligraphic life story and provides (probably) over 200 stunning full colour plates of her work. Although the first 50 pages or so are in German they are supported by an English summary. After that, the book is in both German and English. The catalogue of Katharina's life work is amazing.
This book will inspire calligraphers of all levels.
Other books available from Katharina Pieper
Tanzende Worte (Dancing Words) - An Exhibition Catalogue
Musik wort Malerei (Jazz and Blues) - An Exhibition Catalogue (together with Jean Larcher)
1st edition, 2012, hardback, 240pp. full colour throughout, 21.5 x 28.5 cm