Henry Steiner’s Graphic Art Fusionized Chinese Characters and the Western Alphabet for Universal Communication

Auteur / Author: 
Min Hie YUN (Kyung Hee University, Corée)
Mardi 23 Août 2011 - 15:15
34-1. Les frontières du livre


Today’s society tends to be against the strict classification and has a mutual exchange relationship. This phenomenon, exposed through destroying the dichotomy division, such as spirit and material, rationality and sensibility, art and life, high and low and Oriental and Western culture. This study aims to present 20th century’s graphic artworks, on Oriental and Western style in visual art , focusing on Henry Steiner.

He pursued interdisciplinary Oriental and Western style graphic art like Wang Xu and Kan Tai Keung. In their graphic artworks, Chinese characters are commonly cited as an ideogrammic compound, in the view of word and image such as text and graphic and character and advertisement. Henry Steiner’s graphic art, “Happy New Year” for the new year’s graphic image, was portrayed as Happy New Year instead, representing the Year of the Sheep at the same time based on the interrelation between a literal element and visual image. Through this kind of graphic artwork, we will compare the plastic concept of Western and Oriental art.

Black-and-white paintings are regarded as the most common way of expression in Oriental painting. Oriental paintings that regard idealistic expression imply intensively connotative language. Further, it evokes idealistic recognition to appreciators, from the beauty of emptiness and calligraphy with an absolute moderation. A line, which is the fundamental element of Oriental paintings, takes the same position in calligraphy. We use a brush whether we draw, paint or write. Therefore, lines have duties, not only to complete the shape, but also possess graceful beauty when using a brush technique. Line description in Oriental paintings are different from the brush touch of Western ones, and it has a special aesthetical meaning that is contained in the beauty of Chinese painting.

Visual language can deliver a message instantly to anyone, however, the meaning can be interpreted differently from each person’s viewpoint. Therefore, Henry Steiner’s visual language gives off the strongest message that anyone can imagine. As a universal visual language, it also goes beyond the differentiated language recognition of cultural areas and impresses people as an excellent advertising copy does.