【Lecture】Brainstorm: Font Invention


Minsheng Lecture


Luo Jiawen


Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum, Academy of International Visual Art

Tutor: Luo Jiawen

In contemporary art, text is the easiest part to understand. Usually there are interpretations next to the works. These are helpful for us to understand the art, but at the same time it is easy to become excessive interpretation of the arts and interfere with the visual and sensory experience. However, when the text directly enters the visual field as an art form, people can understand the art with the speed when they are reading. This is a trend that has become more conceptual caused by the visual expression and material embodiment of contemporary art.​​​​​​​

Tracey Emin took a lot of time to explore the limits of the concept of love and desire. The neon series works are all based on her handwriting. They use the theme of love as their inspiration, including beauty, even painful complexity. These sentences can be seen as Emin’s self-confession, to her audience, her lover, and even God.

The lecture will begin with the introduction of Yukimasa Matsuda’s ZEЯRO. From the traditional character, the codes during the war, to the subsequent font designs, it presents a direct image of the evolution of the entire text message through the times. We will also touch Xu Bing’s Word Play series to lead to innovative use of contemporary texts and new ways of thinking to understand information. Through the work ABC, we will explain the differences between Chinese and Western characters, where the oriental word is a language that pays more attention to the visual. From the appearance of symbols to Emoji and WeChat expression images, the image information has replaced emotion expression in daily communication. Taking the work Xie Sheng as an example, it explains the vagueness of text and images, and is highly characteristic of contemporary art and it also reflects Chinese ‘homologous painting and calligraphy’.

He An interviewed a friend’s dialogue about feelings in Birmingham and then intercepted the conversation. He took down the outline of the Chinese character of the passage, and the link formed a crooked line. Let the negative of these words shine with the negative of the city.

After the lecture, the tutor will lead the visitors through a group of interactive creations, playing a ‘word game’ in the artistic use of fonts and texts. Various forms of content creation are performed through the combination of the comprehensive materials we have prepared and the cards printed with emoji and Chinese characters.


Luo Jiawen, Bachelor of Arts in Sculpture, School of Fine Arts, Shanghai University, Master of Art, Chelsea College of Art and Design, University of Arts, London, UK. Art teacher at Faber-Castell Art Salon and part-time tutor for the Chinese Foundation of Birmingham College of Art and Design.