Sinoglyph exhibition in Taipei

At first glance Chinese language seems to be a pictographic language in the sense that it consisted of writing by means of pictures all or most of which. The concept of an ideographic writing is a very seductive notion leading us to the dream of the universal language. There is great appeal in the concept of written symbols conveying their message directly to our minds, thus by passing the intermediary of speech. And it seems so plausible to an artist.
The concept of Chinese writings as a means of conveying ideas without regard to speech took hold as part of the “chinoiserie fad” among Western intellectuals that was stimulated by the generally highly laudatory writings of Catholic missionaries from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. For a long time in Europe, the belief that written Chinese was ideographic prevailed. Jesuits also thought that Noah’s ark landed somewhere in China, suggesting that Chinese language was the genuine language of human kind.
A more authoritative description of Chinese writing was advanced by the renowned Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci (1552-1610). European readers learned that the Chinese have a system of writing "similar to the hieroglyphic signs of the Egyptians" and that they "do not express their concepts by writing, like most of the world, with a few alphabetic signs, but they paint as many symbols as there are words."
Chinese language was originally designed to express the will of the gods. It was then conventionalized and simplified during 3 000 years. With SINOGLYPHS, Emmanuel CHANTEBOUT, thought his personal reverse engineering of the Chinese characters, is making Chinese writing figurative again at the ultimate stage of its evolution in a contemporary world. He restages, through his photographs, everyday life experiences with a twist.

 The Centered
 n°25, Lane 290, Zhongshan North Road, Sec. 6, Shilin District, Taipei City, 11161

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