The Power of Line
edited by Marzia Faietti and Gerhard Wolf
Lines are prime means and modes of expression in human action, perception, and communication, if not a distinctive component of humanity itself. The well-known dictum that there are no lines in nature can perhaps be expressed as there are no lines without humans being involved in their creation, perception, or definition as such. Lines form the second dimension according to geometry; they separate or combine, bridge or cut, circumscribe or circulate; they materialise into threads or strokes, are incised or printed, are continuous or interrupted, and often tend to be invisible, mere abstractions. Lines are the site of an infinite number of points; they are the trajectory of a moving point, a seismographic notation, the trace of a gesture, or a dynamogram of cosmic or psychic energies. They are the basic material of writing and drawing in many European, East Asian, and Islamic cultures. The extraordinary semantic and conceptual density of lines – and the continuities and changing dynamics of lines in drawing and writing, architecture and science, choreography and other performative arts – has fascinated the curators of this volume for several years. LINEA III represents the ultimate step of a multi-annual project between the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi and the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max Planck Institute.
The publication is divided into rather supple sections organised on the basis of thematic criteria and covering disparate eras and civilisations: Nature and Line; Theories, Learning, and Didactic Experiences; Line: Space and Trace; Calligraphy, Painting, and Dance in China and Japan; Transforming Arabic Letters and Islamic Lines; and Eloquent Signs and Doodles.