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05  |   K A N T S T R A S S E N
Six pen-and-ink drawings, 1981/82
Black ink on rag paper
Each 57 x 76 cm
Sammlung der Berlinischen Galerie, Landesmuseum für Kunst, Fotografie und Architektur, Berlin [Collection of the Berlinische Galerie, State Museum for Modern Art, Photography and Architecture, Berlin] and private collections.

In the series KANTSTRASSEN, I was originally concerned with using pen and ink to produce a draftsman’s equivalent of my dark collages . I wanted to see if I could create a homogeneous, but vital, graphic surface out of myriad strokes on paper, as I’d been doing with the bits of printed paper I’d pasted onto cardboard and canvas. I had two interests here : on the one hand, articulating the surface of a rectangular form without having it lose its fundamentally monolithic character—allowing its surface, in other words, to appear at once uniformly simple and intricately detailed—while, on the other, maintaining the connection to the activities of reading—and, by inference, writing —established in the panels of READING BETWEEN THE LINES.

To this day, my work is devoted—implicitly and explicitly—as much to that high culture of reading and writing, as it is to the pre-literary word and the archaic per se. In 1981, this preoccupation with the relationship between head, hand, and eye became manifest in these six drawings, which I—at the time, incidentally, as a resident of a cross street of the larger and longer of Berlin’s two Kantstraßen, or “Kant Streets”—entitled KANTSTRASSEN, after Immanuel Kant’s pronouncement that the hands are man’s external brain. For the drawings—those above-mentioned attempts, that is, to generate monochrome surfaces comparable to my collaged ones—evolved, namely, more or less automatically out of the interference patterns generated by horizontal “stripes” of closely and methodically cross-hatched pen strokes, of which they exclusively consist ; and these in turn give rise, quite of their own accord, to what appear to be paths and forms and figures : establishing, if you will, a literal, concrete, and hence abstract calligraphic story line.