Category: Literature & Poetry

Modern Mosaik

Ordinary everyday objects form intricate patterns in the hands of Bejing contemporary artist Hong Hao

things“Tian-B,” 2008

Thank god for the New York Times online subscription, my day was lit up by an article about the works of this artist from China. Everything I love: every day objects, collage, mosaic, still life, abstraction…

Books“My Things No. 7,” 2004 – books

The artist and photographer Hong Hao has kept track of almost every item in his life for the past 14 years. You think he is a hoarder?

bottom“Bottom No. 3,” 2009 – bottoms of ordinary objects

In fact, no: he scans each item and composes what results into colorful, intriguing large-format still life’s. I love this “objet pixel” infinity collage:

circleMy Things About Circle no. 2 , 2006

This collage is made up of ordinary consumer goods packages, chronicling the change in China over the last 14 years:

stuff“Book-Keeping of 07 B,” 2008

The objects are scanned and then arranged according to their forms and colors.

art“My Things No. 5,” 2002

Hong Hao destructs the functional property of the materials and reproduces an undifferentiated, flattened, deliberately superficial world of aesthetics.

books2“My Things Book-Keeping of 2004-05 A,” 2006

The amazing thing is, this is done with a scanner and a computer! No camera, just scanned images carefully rearranged on the computer and printed in large format! I find these images so poetic or in the words of Horace:

“A picture is a poem without words.”

Libelli Portatiles

A Renaissance Printer


Logo of the Aldine Press

“Whoever you are, Aldus asks you again and again what it is you want from him, state your business briefly, and then immediately go away.”

This was the “inviting” text above the Venetian shop of the printer Aldus Manutius in the late 1400’s. The scholar and humanist Aldus Manutius (1449 –1515) was perhaps the greatest printer and publisher of the Italian Renaissance.

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Bitter Herbs

Dutch writer Marga Minco tells a story of great sorrow in an understated and powerful way.

MarorThe Maror (bitter herb) which symbolises the hard life endured by the Israelites while in Egyptian bondage. Illustration from the Golden Haggadah at the British Library.

Marga Minco’s books are distinguished by, and celebrated for, her sober, reserved way of using words and emotions. Her restrained style and cinematic turn of phrase give her books great power. Every school child in Holland reads her book “Bitter Herbs” (original title: “Het Bittere Kruid”).

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Anne Frank is Alive

How a young girl’s diary became an everlasting condemnation of the Holocaust.

annefrankAnne Frank, 12 June 1929 – early March 1945

Anne Frank is alive; she lives on in all of us….The writer Primo Levi describes this beautifully: “One single Anne Frank moves us more than the countless others who suffered just as she did but whose faces have remained in the shadows. Perhaps it is better that way; if we were capable of taking in all the suffering of all those people, we would not be able to live.”

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On Kindness

“I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.”

Khalil Gibran

KG2Drawing by Khalil Gibran

Much is written on the concept of kindness, the correctness of kindness and the philosophy of kindness, but I simply think the most important question one can ask about a fellow human being is: “Is he or she kind?”

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