Calligraphy, lettering and printmaking in full force: Gunnlaugur SE Briem at the Type Archive
Handwriting guru Gunnlaugur SE Briem arrives at the Type Archive for a three-week long exhibition to celebrate handwriting with works of calligraphy, lettering and printmaking. “Lettering is calligraphy with cheating” notes Briem.
“Everything is subject to cutting and patching, erasure, second thoughts. Only the end result matters. Before picking up a chisel and mallet, sensible stonecarvers work out every detail of their inscriptions. And spending an extra day making a week’s work look as if it had been knocked up in twenty minutes is often time very well spent. Printmaking creates its images with a machine, a mechanical pen substitute that can weigh half a ton. Tools and processes that lead to ink on paper, such as an engraver’s burin, the etching needle, gouges for wood- carving, have their own possibilities and limitations. There are many choices” adds this lover of the letterform.
“Playing with letters is a joy. Every style has a mood of its own, its own tone of voice. Lettering occupies a secure place among the decorative arts. It stands alongside other worthy callings: weaving, stained glass, ingenious pottery perhaps. It brightens our lives on soap wrappers and bisquit boxes; its decorative value is beyond dispute. But can it be judged on its own merits? Fine art generally has no function other than to be seen. Sometimes this can apply to matters alphabetical. But demands for an upgrade in the cultural ranks have so far neither excited informed opinion nor popular imagination. Still, letters delight as one minority pursuit among many: an interest in Chinese bronzes, Easter Island statuary, Dead Sea scrolls” he adds.
The exhibition showcases a collection of old and new works that highlight the beauty of lettering. In a time when handwriting is threatened by technology and taken off schools' curricula, Briem reminds us of the importance and art of writing by hand. The exhibition runs from the 29th of June through the 16th of July. Donations to the exhibition are welcome and will be used for the restoration and upkeep of the Type Archive’s extensive library. Please book your ticket at Eventbrite.