Josua Reichert

Letter Pictograms and Hand Prints

The graphic artist Josua Reichert was the first artist to be presented in the Arithmeum. It was through the printing of psalms that Reichert found his way to the Hebrew alphabet. This awakened his interest in the different alphabet forms arising in different languages. In his prints Reichert repeatedly uses letters of the alphabet, the genuine tools of a printer, as motifs and abstract elements in his compositions. The stringent geometric structures of his prints are broken up by his choice of colours, whose earthiness radiates tangible warmth. On the other hand, the harmonic balance of the colours focuses one’s faculties on the forceful compositions.

As graphic artist, Reichert – who was taught by HAP Grieshaber in Karlsruhe – has evolved steadily. His early typographical prints stand out in their unconventional way of printing.

Reichert pressed the wooden letter-types onto the paper with his feet, using the weight of his whole body. These large-format works were followed by somewhat smaller ones, when Reichert acquired a traditional knee-press. This initiated his „poesia typographica“ phase, poetry without language but with letters. Finally, Reichert freed himself from all formal constraints and now produces large hand-printed compositions using nothing but a spoon with which he rubs the paper from the back until the spoon is burning hot and the shade and thickness of colour meets with his critical approval – he has been using the same spoon for forty years now!

A consequent result of this development is the newest work of Josua Reichert: the „Chaim-Alphabet“ was the center-piece of the exhibition. It exists only in the form of uncorrected trial prints, which were shown here for the first time.