Alphabet for a New Language by Xul Solar

When talking on the final project by Christina Pochaivskaya and Ekaterina Fishbein The Alphabet. The basis of the project was the alphabet of the Russian language. And I remembered of an Argentinian artist who presented his own alphabet, but the point was not in making graphic design content to existing letters, but in creation of a new, yet unknown and, may be, even mystical language.

Xul Solar (1887–1963) was artist, astrologer, philologist, and visionary. He has only recently become recognized and exhibited in both his native Argentina and in the rest of the world. One of the places in this rest of the world became Venice and the 55th Biennale of Contemporary Arts. Its curator Masimilliano Gioni selected “Pan-language card game” (Juego de cartas de panlegua, 1958–1960) made by X. Solar to be presented in the main project of the biennale.

Pan-language card game

Pan-language card game

Xul Solar was a practitioner of astral projection, a clairvoyance technique practiced by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which he actively engaged in after meeting with the occultist Aleister Crowley in 1924. However, he did not see a manifestation of projected fantasies in his art. He painted the world around him as he saw it in his many visions.Solar’s particular subjectivity, one in which all gods, words, and shapes are equally singular in origin, defines his work and led him to use interchangeably religious symbols and arcane language.

The same can be said of his pan-language cards vivid colours, letters from different alphabets, some astrological sign intermix. His scrapbooks are not only a compendium of images and world events. They also provide documentation of his visions and proposals for new languages. Solar’s universe, spirituality, mysticism, and linguistics are something different from what we all have got used to, They are of his own making.

Exposition of the Pan-language card game at the 55th Venice Biennale, 2013

Exposition of the Pan-language card game at the 55th Venice Biennale, 2013

Nastasia Rozhkova

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