From the introduction to the book:
Imagine a wall, a room full of treasures. Wherever the gaze rests it is met with wondrous curios, oddities, startling novelties. A closer inspection reveals acts of daring, mysteries, and beauty so that the eyes are transfixed! Indulge yourself in wonder- after all this is a cabinet of curiosities, or wonder - a “Wunderkammer". The works of two calligraphers, one German and the other Italian, Birgit Nass and Massimo Polello were inspired by one word: “Wunderkammer". As it happens, the word “Wunderkammer", in English, cabinet of curiosities, serves both languages, Italian and German.
Whilst visiting an exhibition of handwritten manuscripts in Turin, they were both struck by this one
word, magical, rich and profound, and felt compelled to devote their inspiration to it. How did this German - Italian partnership, the genius behind the cabinet of curios, come into being? Birgit Nass from Germany and Massimo Polello from Italy, have known and admired one another for some time.
For both of them, calligraphy has developed from being predominantly decorative into a means of aesthetic expression. For both artists, the profoundest meaning of a word is revealed through the process of calligraphy. Each has found their own unique way of expressing the essence of the word, which has long since developed from handicraft into an art-form. They were both familiar with the historical significance of the cabinet of curiosities, the “Wunderkammer" as a collection of valuable artefacts, rarities, inventions, discoveries and curios. Once a testament to the broad-mindedness and education of the nobility, the cabinet of curiosities also served as a financial investment, as an object of prestige, or as a private retreat in which titillating paintings or engravings were unveiled. The works were always more than merely beautiful showpieces. With their penetrating but well-recognized iconography and symbolism, they were able to convey values, to put historical subjects in a contemporary context, or express the possibilities and limits of one's life within the socio-economic reality. The multi-layered symbolism of the curios is central to this project.
This beautifully created book is a catalogue of work exhibited by Birgit Nass (Germany) and Massimo Polello (Italy) in 2012. It contains 50 pieces from each of these amazing calligraphers.
Rules were set and the colours of the works were restricted… black, white, blue and beige tones predominating, highlights and accents of red and gold. The canvas size was restricted to 15 x 15 cm, which is also the size of the reproductions in the catalogue.
As mentioned above, Wunderkamer is a word used in both Germany and Italy that means “a cabinet of curiosities” and this is exactly what this wonderful publication is!
A very inspirational little book!
1st edition, 2012, paperback, 112pp, full colour throughout, 21 x 21 cm