Syllables (anatomy of a typeface) Wax, pigment Dimensions variable 2020
Ingeborg Bachmann once said “no new world without a new language”.
This series of
sculptures takes its starting point in language. A typeface is composed by letters, which
can be dissected into parts: the anatomical features of the font, also called the anatomy of the
typeface. These features are divided into positive and negative elements, the positive elements being the
specific curvature of an S, the crotch of a Y or the flicked tail that projects
from a Q. The negative elements are also called the “counters” – the partially or fully enclosed
spaces within characters. These features as a whole give the font a personality, a mood.
were dissected in 2D and CNC milled – precise movements across a porous
surface, with just slight digital traces revealing this particular method of
sculpting. Heavy plaster moulds, then hot wax casts, turning into brittle
shells of paraffin. The wax of the first cast is heavily pigmented, then
diluted with every new cast, so that the material from the first exists also in
the last, tying ends together that way. The waxcasts are responsive to the warmth
and the humidity of the space
they are in, bending and moving, surfaces caving in. Brittle and
translucent, yet flexible and slippery.
As physical objects, the sculptures function as remnants of an advanced writing
system, but are not discernible in their free form: an abstraction within that
which makes the system specific. A curved stroke nestles in the corner while a
belly-shaped opening tucks itself in beneath the heating element. Orifices,
holes, vents and mouths merging into new symbols, sounds and syllables