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Signs of our times. From Calligraphy to Calligraffiti

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320 pages
Edited by Rose Issa, Juliet Cestar and Venetia Porter
Foreword by Hans Ulrich Obrist
27.9 x 23.4 cm
Language: English
Publisher: Merrell

Signs of Our Times surveys six decades of a trend – the use of words and letters in art – led by artists from the Arab world and Iran. This unique book considers the work of over 40 key artists, ranging from those who pioneered the calligraphic movement in the 1950s to those who use the written word in their work today. Venetia Porter first provides a historical contextualization of the movement and its relationship to lettrism in Europe. Rose Issa then offers a concise overview of 60 years of the art movement in the Arab countries and Iran. The main part of the book is divided into three sections, each devoted to a different generation of artists: the pioneers who created a new aesthetic language following the independence of their countries; the second generation, who mostly live in exile and reference their own cultures and languages in their art; and the new generation of contemporary artists who have absorbed international concepts and languages, and who occasionally use Arabic and Persian script in their work. Each artist’s entry includes a succinct biography and a statement from the artist about their work. The book concludes with a timeline by Juliet Cestar that highlights major cultural and historical events in the Middle East during the last 60 years.