Wednesday, August 8th, 2012
Though it started as part of the Avant-Garde movement, Visual Poetry is becoming more mainstream every day. Bold type on a stark background, pushing the letters forward and making us focus on the tension between the type, its popularity is heightened because of its contrast to the over saturated visual culture that we exist in on a daily basis. While there are several stand out visual poets, there is no one who can manipulate the letters quite like Anatol Knotek. This Austrian artist and visual poet started his career focusing on fine art, but gradually found his way to visual poetry. Getting his first taste of his new art form with his handwritten text paintings, now, using nothing more than a few words, and a little fading and scratching, he is one of the most respected visual poets of the day.
By reducing the elements of communication to the barest possible essence Knotek has stripped away all of the noise between us and the message, leaving us with a brutally honest reality to face. But the most important element of Knotek’s work is his ability to give us a little bit of humor that even while addressing heavy hitting themes, such as big brother, love or the nature of art, manages to create the perfect combination of lighthearted and provocative thought.
Type is an essential part of communication, Knotek’s art is about taking a basic form – one that most people don’t think twice about – and taking it to a higher level while keeping it accessible and within the grasp of the causal observer. Who wouldn’t understand the symbolism behind “she loves me, she loves me not” looped into a circle for eternity? Knotek’s real talent comes in his ability to boil down the human experience into a few artfully arranged lines of type.
You may wonder what a visual poet would aim to accomplish with his work, and when asked what exactly he wanted people to experience when they saw his art, all Knotek said was, “A smile – just a simple, silent smile (and/or a slightly different point of view).”
(And look really close at that blank wall below)