Learning the Alphabet from a Plant

Learning the Alphabet from a Plant initially started as a drawing performance taking place at the Frascati Theater during the Holland Festival in Amsterdam. For a couple of hours, the exhaustive analytical study of a plant was realised through a series of drawings that tried to capture the morphological properties of most of its leaves and branches. Focusing on the repetitive gesture of drawing the plant became a learning process during which a new language, a new form of writing was seeked. All the (typo)graphical signs were collected and classified in two categories that later became the characters for two different cuts of a typeface: one readable, the other illegible. While playfully referencing to John Baldessari’s video work Teaching a Plant the Alphabet, the attempt in creating the typographical portrait of a random ficus was mostly generated by the absurd fantasy of collecting letters while observing the natural world. The resulting typeface is used to create two posters as two enlarged pages fictionally extracted from Victor Hugo’s diary Alps and Pyrenees.

“(…) A tree is a Y; the confluence of two rivers is a Y; an ass’s or an ox’s head is a Y; a glass standing on its foot is a Y; an iris upon its stem is a Y; a supplicant lifting his arms to heaven is a Y (…)”

Publication: 165 × 245mm, 80 p. Posters: 1189 × 841mm

In the context of Kunstvlaai in 2014, four characters of the typeface were used to create a sign in the Amstelpark, Amsterdam. Refering to the exisiting PARK sign present at one of the entrances of the place, the installation attempted to generate an absurd dialogue between the non intelligible sign and the pictoresque backdrop of the Amstelpark itself.

Sign: 3.5 × 4m

Park is a small publication that was published for the occasion. It compiled a series of observations that were drawn during the many visits at the Amstelpark preceding the exhibition.

Publication: 130 × 90mm