The logograms of Christian Dotremont
To mark the centenary of his birth, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium (RMFAB) are presenting a series of fascinating logograms by the painter and poet Christian Dotremont, one of the major artists of the 20th century and co-founder of the CoBrA movement.
Logograms are word drawings, a kind of poetic calligraphy, which Dotremont invented in 1962; they are a striking illustration of the relationship between graphic and literary art. He painted his poems spontaneously with Indian ink on white paper, inspired by oriental Chinese, Japanese and Arabic writings. If the writings of the East are so different from those of the West, it is because they express different visions of the world. Westerners have organised their writing in the most objective way possible, leaving subjectivity to artistic expression alone. Orientals proceeded differently, as writing and art are linked, as much among the Chinese as among the Japanese and Arabs. Dotremont integrated this oriental spirit into his work, which manifested itself in his thoughts as well as in his actions, both in his daily life and in his creative life.
The RMFAB exhibition includes more than 120 works on paper, photographs and even film highlighting this striking graphic creation that oscillates between writing and painting.