The art of calligraphy date back to 4000 BC, which is the earliest record of written Chinese characters. Though many might see calligraphy as merely “beautiful writing” or decorative arts, Chinese calligraphy came to be appreciated as one of the highest visual art forms.
Calligraphy manifests independently in multiple cultures across the globe, it is especially an art form prized above all others in traditional East Asia. The calligrapher does not simply write words to communicate a fixed thought. The calligrapher uses the pen or the brush as an extension of the whole body, and the whole spirit. The calligraphic mark should convey something metaphysical as well as physical. The spirit should inform the body, which should move in a unified gesture, transferring the energy of both body and spirit into the arm, into the hand, into the pen and finally into the paper.
East Asia Calligraphy originate in China, developed all of its forms by the end of the Han dynasty in 220 AD. It was then introduced into Japan during the 6th century AD. Modern calligraphy was largely developed in Japan in the last century.
Based on its ancient traditions, it is natural that the calligraphic tradition should hold relevance to abstract artists. From the beginning of abstraction, at least in the Western tradition, there have been two complementary, yet distinct tendencies that have repeatedly manifested in the work of many abstract artists. One tendency is toward the precise: geometric abstraction, grids, mathematical patterns, and so on. The other tendency is toward the free: impulsive marks, intuitive gestures, subconscious writing, biomorphic forms, etc. Calligraphy inhabits a space that incorporates both. It is system based, and yet it invites intuition, impulsivity, and subconscious intervention.