HUMANOGRAPHY – calligraphy art – interview with Robert Lardus

Calligraphy art? Who are you – a calligrapher or a painter?

Robert Lardus: Calligraphy is the art of writing. Painting, color and light are the basis of painting. Both of these areas are linked by the use of artistic symbols. Calligraphy is meant to convey something metaphysical and physical at the same time. Painting is the art of gestures that transfers the energy of the body and spirit into the image. It is an anecdote, a story, a carrier of moods, emotions and strong messages. Therefore, neither art nor calligraphy, but HUMANOGRAPHY as calligraphy art.

So you’ve created a new concept: Humanography.

Robert Lardus: HUMANOGRAPHY is a tool for recording emotions. Emotions related to relationships between people. I use the image of a human figure as an icon, symbol, sign. HUMANOGRAPHY refers to both the art of calligraphy and figurative painting. It’s true, I don’t use typical calligraphy nor a typical human drawing. In my calligraphy art, I create new symbols using a simplified drawing that suggests an image of a human.

That is a kind of confluence of two fields of art: calligraphy and painting. A kind of iconographic story.

Robert Lardus: Yes. Using simple, iconic forms of human figures referring to letters, I write a story. It is a record of relationships between people. The characters have been turned into abstract characters beyond any literalness. This allows the viewer to freely interpret, participate in the entire process of the story. Calligraphy art is much more than the traditional use of icons and characters.

You create a very individual story by using a very individual language.

Robert Lardus: I allow myself any transformation and deconstruction of signs. They have features of a certain randomness. They are different in each subsequent painting. This extends the symbolic meaning of the signs. As a result, a variable and open language is created. Such an endless message.

So symbolism plays an important part?

Robert Lardus: I am looking for the nature of art in symbolism and the nature of symbolism in the general theory of iconic signs. I adhere to the principle that anyone can freely read the relationship between signs and the world. I am telling this through formal structures. Recipients can read my stories freely interpreting them. I took a man as a subject, and scripture as a medium. This way I create my own dictionary, which allows me to practice symbolism very freely. And it allows to read my calligraphy art freely.

So one can’t, one shouldn’t read your paintings unequivocally?

Robert Lardus: The viewer can interpret the image of calligraphy art in any way. My assumption is to do post-figurative abstract painting. Pictures of the HUMANOGRAPHY series are fanciful works filled with human-symbolic motifs. They are full of expression and poetry. These works are emotional metaphors. Their task is to convey to the audience the experience of an emotional drama that I try to show with the help of spontaneous 'humanographic’ symbolism in art.

What was your inspiration for creating this painting convention?

Robert Lardus: Egyptian hieroglyphs, Aztec and Mayan script, Chinese script. I am fascinated by open systems, i.e. systems that allow new signs. My icon system is devoid of the closed order that characterizes alphabets. A new image means new characters, a new story.

So a rule without rules …

Robert Lardus: The form of the painted figures goes beyond the literal meaning of a human drawing. The signs or their groups create elaborate visual compositions. The characters-symbols are flexible, soft, as if made of plasticine, clay. Each spot is a unit, a unique figure. Due to the consistency of the forms used in a given painting, my calligraphy art obtains the effect of an abstract symbolic combination.

Tell me a little bit more about your painting technique.

Robert Lardus: I do not use a brush – I pour liquid paint with a lot of binder, and rinse partially dried parts. The result is a drawing that has not been drawn. The technique itself has a certain randomness, as in the case of the birth of a new human. Each sign, like each human being, has its own unique characteristics.

This approach breaks out of general rules, all right, let’s stretch it: of any rules!

Robert Lardus: Yes, but this allows me to transform and deconstruct man-letters in a very creative way. In addition, I manipulate color and textures. I use the technique of washing out partially dried paint. This is an additional way of writing. It is impossible to paint two identical characters. My characters, like people, are unique. No two are alike.