To feel the beauty of calligraphy

The world’s most elegant handwriting is coiling away at the 2nd International Exhibition of Calligraphy which opens today in Moscow. Two Exhibit Halls at Sokolniki Exhibition and Convention Centre accommodate works of art from over thirty countries.

Our correspondent Aleksandr Kalinin was reading into and peering into the exhibits. Such works would be a perfect fit at a jewellery expo. For instance, the writing material of the Golden Koran is no less precious than the holy words themselves. These are literally gold words.

Oleg Vetoshnikov, Deputy Director of OJSC MVK, the International Exhibition Company, “This page is made of 0.999 gold under the commission of the Moscow Mint.”

As you struggle to grasp the meaning of the elaborate inscriptions a scream “It’s not calligraphy, it’s god damned cryptography!!” wells up in your throat. Well, get used to it. In his works, Pyotr Chobitko has strictly abided by the Russian Orthodox Church writing canons. Here is what it stands for, “Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions…” Contemplating such chefs d’oeuvre, you come to realize that calligraphy outgrew the concept of mere refined handwriting, which is the original meaning of the Greek word, ages ago. These days the fancy letters rival chefs d’oeuvre of painting, fashion, and design while the glorious names of calligraphers are in everybody’s mouth if not in Russia, abroad, sure thing.
Oleg Vetoshnikov, Deputy Director of OJSC MVK, the International Exhibition Company, “This is an illustrative demonstration of applied calligraphy in action, so to speak.”
Truth be told, one can hardly imagine a more “applied application”. For instance, carpets are usually employed as flooring covering articles but not this handmade woolen battleground scarred with Arab calligraphy. The legendary Tunisian calligrapher Nja Mahdaoui has spent three years poring over it. Allah knows how much this wonder is worth.

Oleg Vetoshnikov, Deputy Director of OJSC MVK, the International Exhibition Company, “Currently it is trendy among Arab Sheikhs to have their planes decorated by Mr. Mahdaoui. The design might be based on a quote from Koran, a surah, or the name of a beloved woman. That is considered chic.”

Such commissions are remunerated more than handsomely; the fees are no less than six digits. Russian calligrapher Yuri Koverdyayev is also accustomed to such numbers for, being part of the Moscow Mint team, he once designed the fifty-ruble note. Currently he prefers pure art though his Mint past reveals itself in his technique of engraving, e.g. in a portrait of poet Aleksandr Osmanov.

Yuri Koverdyayev, calligrapher and artist, “At a distance it appears to be an ordinary portrait, but if you come closer, you’ll distinguish letters merging into poetry.”
Osmanov’s portrait was created within six months whereas a dedication to Grigory Epstein required eighteen months. There can be no doubt that this art is not to be gained without pain. The author elaborated on the pains.

Yuri Koverdyayev, calligrapher and artist, “With all this poring over every detail, your eyes get sore and unfocused.”

The visitors“ eyes will also go wo-o-o-oh due to the vivid palette of the International Exhibition of Calligraphy for it is a spectacle far from ordinary and thus attractively extraordinary. You’ll have a whole month to feel the beauty of calligraphy as you have not only to see the images, but to read them.

Source: NTV TV-channel, official website