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"Guy Rombouts" Tag


A choice is always a limitation.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

 

 

Guy Rombouts

 

Guy Rombouts (Geel, 1949) is een Belgisch beeldend kunstenaar.

Hij is opgeleid als drukker en heeft in de drukkerij van zijn familie en voor het Nieuwsblad van Geel gewerkt, tot hij in 1975 voor het kunstenaarschap koos. Sinds de jaren ‘70 werkte hij aan alternatieve communicatiesystemen. Zijn fascinatie met taal en letters leidde in 1983 tot het Drieletterwoordenboek.
Sinds 1986 werkte hij samen met Monica Droste (1958-1998), met wie hij ook trouwde. Samen met haar ontwikkelde hij het Azart-alfabet, met letters die een vorm in een lijn, een kleur en een geluid combineren. Op basis hiervan maakten zij een aantal, meest drie-dimensionale, kunstwerken. Het eerste werk waarmee zij bekendheid kregen buiten de kunstwereld, was het ontwerpen van de Letterbruggen (1994) op het Java-eiland te Amsterdam.
Ook na de dood van zijn echtgenote maakte hij werken, waarin het Azart-alfabet wordt gebruikt, zoals de Lettertuin (hersteld in 2006), bestaande uit betonnen “letters” in Burcht (Zwijndrecht) bij de Schelde.
Er bevinden zich enkele werken van Rombouts in het Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen (M HKA).

 

 

Azart alfabet

“Monica vond de naam Rombouts niet universeel genoeg. In een oude Franse tekst was ik het woord Azart tegengekomen. Dat woord kan verwijzen naar het alfabet en – via het Franse hasard – naar de arbitraire relatie van taal en werkelijkheid. Daar konden we beiden mee leven.” 

— Guy Rombouts

azart alfabet

 

A choice is always a limitation.

 

 

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One Super Story


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

• Even if you enjoy only one story, a daytrip to “Super Stories” in Hasselt [B] will have been a day wel spend.
Tugged away on the attick of an the old Jenever brewery museum I found such a story, on which Malin Bülow wrote this essay.

On Azart and the “linguistic relativity principle”

Have you ever pondered about why time is a line, why it is horizontal and not vertical, why future is ahead of you and history behind you?
A fundamental debate in cognitive sciences is the extent to which our language influences or constrains our perception. Benjamin Whorf quite radically argues that “we dissect nature along lines laid down by our native language”(1), meaning that language directly affects cognition, the way we think, how we look at things and experience reality. This way of thinking, referred to as the “linguistic relativity principle”, suggests that we can’t imagine things or events or anything else that does not have a corresponding word in our mental lexicon. Therefore our language influences the manner in which we understand reality and behaviors. Coming back to the initial pondering on our perception of time, the way we talk about time: “timeline”, “looking forward to tomorrow”, “ahead of time”, “behind schedule” etc, explains our cognitive reference of time being a two-dimensional horizontal line. The cognitive visualization of time is then secondary to the words describing time. One can say that our reality is trapped in words, physical letters, which forms and appearance are highly coincidental and not at all connected to the actuality they define. Quite an amount of studies on color perception (2,3), categorization (4,5) and numerical cognition (6) among others support this view.

Guy Rombouts, (1940-, Geel, Belgium) seems to make a comment on how the flatness of letters and words can create a reality and make that reality non-existing without the words, in line with what the “linguistic relativity principle” suggests. Rombouts does this by inventing a new alphabet; the Azart, a name that refers to A-Z art, but also to the French word “hasard” meaning coincidence. In Azart each letter is translated by a corresponding line, on the basis of the first letter of the word which describes the line. A is angular, B is barred, C is curve, D is deviation and Z is a zigzag line. When the lines are linked together closed forms or word-images appear. What is going on quite literally on the paper when forming Azart words, goes on in our mind when forming realities of alphabetic words. The arbitrary letters of the alphabet also obtain meaning in our mind.
Words written in Azart visually define them selves, forming isles of meanings, while words of the alphabet is defined by means of other words. These words, however, are formed by the same letters as the word they define. A circle of definitions are formed, referring again literally to the Azart circled words.

Sources:
Cassiman, B. (1989). Guy Rombouts, Narcisse Tordoir. (Dublin: Douglas Hyde Gallery)

some other links: www.hanstheys.be/ (work, movies and interviews): La Paloma part 1 & 2 : SKOR (Art in the Public Space): De Appel (exhibition): Bridge (Java Isle Amsterdam): =vorm=word=image=content= : Guy Rombouts/Azart at Rietveld Designblog researches: at the MUHKA Antwerp: one final image~story……..


you can download this research by Malin Bülow: as a pdf

Objectiefied Bits


Friday, January 30, 2009

Maybe you find it puzzling that this posting about Helvetica and Wim Crouwel starts with an image of Paul Elliman’s “Bits” Alphabet.

Extremes can sometimes meet when you least expect it, and this fascinates me. It became apparent again during the investigation by the FoundationYear C group, into Gary Hustwitt’s Movie “Helvetica” and our consequently visit to the Wim Crouwel exhibit last month at the “van Abbemuseum”.

left: Bits by Paul Elliman, right: Objectified by Build (click images for blog info)

“Bits” was developed by Paul Elliman in the mid 90ties and published in the 15th (Cities) issue of Fuse’s conceptual Font Box. quote: “Language moves between us and the world on patterns of repetition and variation, and a mimetic example of this might be something like an alphabet”
Later, in 2004, it was included in the Cooper-Hewitt Design Triennial N.Y. which made “concept type” part of the established design world.

Gary Hustwitt’s new documentary “Objectified” takes design, and as a matter of fact “Bits” too, one step further by making it popular in the same way as he did with “Helvetica”.

Modernist thinking, or even constructivist-, lays at the base of the “Helvetica” concept and the work of Wim Crouwel, as this first movie on typography has him stated. As a true Dutch graphic design icon Wim Crouwel illustrated this through work, presented at the library exhibition of the van Abbemuseum, celebrating his 70th birthday. A small but beautiful display of catalogues and posters made for both this and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.


pages by Crouwel versus pages by Jan van Toorn from publication “Het Debat”

Extremes met in person when Crouwel and Jan van Toorn celebrated their life long controversy with a recurrence of their famous 1970 debate. Functionalism versus engagement. Jan van Toorn succeeded Crouwel as a designer at this museum under the directorate of Jean Leering to manifest in an inspiring cooperation what that leads to in terms of exhibition concepts and graphic design (“Museum in Motion” at the library). Jean Leering also closely work together with Jan Slothouber (read part 1 of C group’s research) at the TU-Delft where the published several internal essay’s on the philosophical and social consequences of design.


80/20/100 © Nijhof&Lee booksellers – Laurenz Brunner, final exam poster

More research was conducted to explore related content or work approach of other designers like, Laurenz Brunner’s “Akkurat”, his successful contemporary remake of Helvetica, Experimental Jetset convicted users of Helvetica, the cooperation “8020100″ between Vivid Gallery in Rotterdam and Nijhof&Lee Bookstore in Amsterdam. Context was created by turning the focus on Adriaan Frutiger, designer of Helvetica’s conscientious alternative “Univers”. To further explore the relation to language and image we further focused our investigating efforts on the visual legacy of Charles & Ray Eames, the “El Hema” exhibition/store and Massin‘s timeless publication “Letter and Image“.

With the inclusion of Belgian artist Guy Rombouts the full circle of our focus on type design was completed. The investigation into his visual language concept “AZart” will be presented soon in a separated part 3 C_group posting. This was part II of the C_group research
All researches linked in this posting can be downloaded in A4 format and are also available as hard copy research prints at the ResearchFolders available at the academy library

D group /Type Design, from Experimental to Corporate


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Helvetica is a feature-length independent film by Gary Hewitt, about typography, graphic design and global visual culture. It looks at the proliferation of one typeface (which is celebrating its 50th birthday this year) as part of a larger conversation about the way type affects our lives. (http://www.helveticafilm.com/) Helvetica introduces type as more than common. A specialized design discipline.

helvetica movie image1helvetica movie image2

A lecture by Henk Groenendijk on experiments in type design, related to ‘developping cultural and economical progress in the 1950-’70, gave more insight in the context that proved so fertile for Helvetica’s rise to stardom.

Indiana Number-paintingLogo’s from fiftiesSandberg Experimenta TypograficaModern Banking

Time and space is a given phenomenon in education at the Rietveld Academie, where things constantly present themselves in past and contemporary creative projects. As an almost casual gesture, some 2nd year students from the graphic design department dropped by to present their recent type designs in progress.

Student type design

Finally research material was edited down to A4 sized guided tours into selected subjects. All subjects presented in this list are also available as hard copy research prints at the ResearchFolders available at the Rietveld library.

As usual we selected subjects with a direct connection to the context of the presented material in this classbloc. In this case Helvetica the Movie” and its content, was researched through subjects like the Corporate Alphabet, Wim Crouwel, Laurenz Brunner, Experimental Jetset, Norm type design and their publication “TheThing” or Letterpress.

The lecture gave a much broader perspective from which researches like de Stijl fonts, Buro Destruct, Zaph Dingbats, the Univers Font, Systemfonts, Swiss Style/Modernisme, Guy Rombout‘s AZart and Edward Fella were initiated. Widening the discussion towards the Helvetica subject by adding links to the actuality, some more subjects were added, Jonathan Barnbrook. Richard Niessen, Type Radio, Emigre‘s Zuzana Licko, Jonathan Puckey‘s Type Tool, the mysterious typebased posters of Michel Schuurman and ultimately the concept of Dead Type by Hansjakob Fehr


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