A Research Centre for Calligraphy

Registered Charity No. 1099648


Spring Lines

‘Write with the idea existing before the brush’

Wang Hsi-chi (Chinese, 4th cent AD)


In China, Japan and the Arab world calligraphy has long been the most respected of all art forms. Yet in different ways each of these traditions has had to adjust to vast cultural changes in the twentieth century. In what ways have calligraphers in these parts of the world responded? How is their new work affecting western calligraphers who are themselves travelling east or discovering more about other traditions through our increasingly global culture?

Tunisian Nja Mahdaoui works on various surfaces, including denim; Algerian Rachid Koraichi taps into ancient traditions of writing on ceramics and in cast metal plaques. Toko Shinoda, the senior Japanese woman artist now resident in New York, builds grand, strong gestures into minimalist compositions of great power and simplicity. Recent Chinese calligraphy by some of the greatest living masters was being shown outside China for the first time since the cultural revolution. SPRING LINES has commissioned from American Thomas Ingmire a body of new work, The Space of Writing, a series of variations on the Hevajira Tantra: ‘By passion the world is bound, by passion too it is released’.

The climax of the programme Lettering Today and Tomorrow, SPRING LINES included work by twenty of today’s most innovative lettering artists. It stretched the boundaries of calligraphy today in ways which are both visually stunning and immensely thought-provoking.

The exhibition having run from 7th April to 10th June 2001 in Ditchling was shown at The Prince’s Foundation, Shoreditch, London from Thursday 7th February to Friday 1st March 2002

The accompanying book, Spring Lines includes essays by Chao Bin Yizhou, Christine Flint Sato, Soraya Syed, Kazuaki Tanahashi and Thomas Ingmire. 47 illustrations, 8 in colour 80pp

(Click here to view sample chapter)