Saturday, September 10, 2011

{the art of the acrostic}

Perhaps you didn't have your magnifying glass handy the other day, and wondered what you were supposed to be looking at in this picture from Mad og Bolig magazine.

Well, here's a shot from inside ARoS museum in Aarhus, where we happened to spot the original of one of the framed prints. (Note to ARoS museum police: I'm very sorry, but I didn't spot your white-on-glass 'no camera' signs until too late. If it makes you feel better, we got a parking ticket while inside the museum. Possibly at the very second I took this photo)

Oiseau, by Poul Pedersen, as you can see, is an acrostic. As far as I can tell, it reads: Where, Here, Paris, Stranger, France, Poul. And then downwards, the letters spell Bird. Perhaps not my choice of words, but I love the restrained use of red letters, and the way the words are arranged. With a set of alphabet stencils and a few tubes of acrylic, this would be quite simple to recreate -- either with your own acrostic poetry (ooh la la), or with a meaningful word, place or name in the centre.

After much searching, it seems that Poul Pedersen has kept himself rather quiet. A Danish artist, his paintings all seem to be collected around the Aarhus area, and very few are visible online. How lucky that we did venture into this corner of the Contemporary Art floor of ARoS (most of the art on which inspired rude comments like "I could do that with my eyes closed" and "Tilly made something just like that yesterday with squashed blackberries).

I did find another of his works, La Toile, that I also love. Unfortunately, my French isn't quite up to deciphering it all: You, Beneath the stars, The stars, Beneath the _______, The _______, Beneath You, The ______. I know, it's turning into a language test over here, but any help on what a toit is would be greatly appreciated. Hopefully it's not too rude to say in the comments.

I've been sketching away already, trying out different words for my own version, ready to paint once we're home again. Any ideas? Do you have any words on your walls?


Sophie said...

"Toits" means roofs actually. That would go as follows:
You / Above the Stars / The Stars / Above the Roofs / The Roofs / above You / The Canvas (and/or the Web, as you prefer :))
But in the first image, I don't know what Poul's definitely not French; You would need an "e" to make the word "chicken" (poule), idea!
Thanks for sharing!

Astrid said...

Ah, thank you so much! I see that I'd confused 'under' with 'over', too. 'Roofs' makes a lot of sense.

And 'Poul' is the artist's name -- no need to translate that one! I guess it was his way of signing the canvas!

Jadyn said...

These are so lovely! love this idea, can't wait to see what you'll come up with!