18 février – 29 mars 2013
The wonderful world of calligraphy
During his long and blooming career the importance of creative inspiration became very clear to Giorgio Margaritondo: “Art should be part of the life of any person who wants to achieve something in the scientific world.” How science and the arts influenced the personal and professional life of an internationally renowned EPFL physicist.
Italian-born, Giorgio Margaritondo grew up amidst a colorful family in Rome. He was surrounded by his father’s extensive art and antiques collection, family musicians and had a professional artist uncle in the USA. Yet, painting was his very own choice and he took his love of creation wherever he lived. His commitment to science and creativity accompanied him on a long journey, for Giorgio’s life would be filled with international travel.
His mind was always nourished by fine art and it was the New World that allowed his scientific and artistic aspirations to grow whichever way they needed to go. “When my wife and I moved to the USA as a young married couple we experienced the wonderful feeling of complete freedom and independence,” he remembers. “When I was professor of physics at the University of Wisconsin art was also influenced by the climate. The winters were long and harsh, so we were inside a lot. Painting was a magnificent way to spend time.”
From painting Giorgio evolved into calligraphy. “I was hoping that if I’d practice calligraphy it would improve my penmanship. It became a real passion.”
After a while writing beautiful words and sentences was no longer enough. “I began to write texts of historic people who had something interesting to say, whether in poetry or prose. I found beautiful texts in Italian, English, French and Spanish. These days I very much love to write texts that have a double layer or something hidden that can only be detected by careful reading and through knowledge about the author’s perspectives. The early poetry of Saint Francis for example looks naïve at first glance, but digging deeper we find a profound reflection of medieval philosophy on life. Entities like death, the sun and the moon are referred to as ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters.’ The aim of the text is to indicate that we are all part of everything and thoroughly connected.
Calligraphy is a developing art form; it is constantly evolving. I also find it to be a great way to relax and sharpen the mind at the same time. I have solved a differential equation once while writing calligraphy.”
Giorgio’s pen moves across paper or parchment with a natural ease. His texts have become more elaborate in the process. “I adapt the shapes and colors of my letters to the contents of the text.” His work may therefore sometimes be set in quiet earth tones, but can also jump off the page through a splash of exuberant color. Using different pens, paper and ink all the time, Giorgio lavishly embellishes the versals (the large capital letters at the beginning of a text) with gold-colored liquid ink. They are often set against a red background to create more depth and then adorned with leaves, flowers and garlands reminiscent of medieval illuminations. Brilliant texts are the result.
“Art should be a part of everybody’s life. In a complete scientific setting the precision of science and the beauty of art and expression complement each other. We all have these aspects in ourselves and should use them to our advantage. In my career I have never met a great scientific leader with a one-sided personality. Art is an absolute necessity in the process of scientific inspiration and creation.
This is my personal message: the quality of my work as a calligrapher is not so important, but within my discipline it makes a statement. I hope that it will become an example to our students.”
Enjoy the show!
Gusta van Dobbenburgh
The wonderful world of calligraphy
Show: February 18 – March 29, 2013
Monday through Friday 8h45 – 17h00
Location: ELA Gallery Room 010
Reception: Thursday, February 21, 18h00 – 20h00
Info: http//astie.epfl.ch email@example.com
Or call: 021 691 1188