Ulrich Binder: Plume sans fin
In 1707, Nicolas Bion patented his “plume sans fin” in Paris. This was a forerunner of today’s fountain pen, which, unlike the goose quill commonly used at the time, had the inkwell integrated into the barrel, as it were. This eliminated the need for ink to be replenished and made the instrument lighter and more suitable for travel.
All drawings in this book are made with a Pelikan fountain pen, a late successor model of the “plume sans fin” and a corresponding ink. All sheets have the same format and identical paper quality. The material conditions do not change throughout the collection. All distinctions are created solely by the movement and posture of the pen.
In the beginning there is no intent, no figurative intention – just a gesture. The first contact of the pen tip with the paper is followed by a series of quickly made decisions that determine how fast the line is drawn out, with what course of pressure, where it ends, and where the next stroke is applied. The line is perhaps repeated, slightly shifted, condensed into a web that exists only on this sheet and yet is perhaps reminiscent of the real.
Thus a peculiar connection is created between the phenomena of the living world and the minimal movements of the hand, the “gestes pittoresques”, which, just because they happen “unintentionally”, one would like to impute a hidden foundation revealed with the drawing.
In sum, the sheets tell of the expressive possibilities of the pen, of drawing as a craft. This claim requires a certain fullness: thus, whole lines of development are made visible and all drawings are equally integrated in the block of the book. But the reader, the viewer, is called upon to make his or her own selection insofar as the sheets are separated from one another by means of perforations and can be detached from the book.
An encyclopedia of pen lines, which, if you leaf through from the beginning to the end of the collection, unexpectedly doubles. At the very end, the book switches from French to Japanese and, read in the other direction, begins anew, as it were. Indeed, this reversal in sequence alone plays an important role in the viewing of the drawings.
But this is not the only way in which the otherwise strict linearity of the medium of the book is dissolved: the pages are not cut open and can be separated out as a sheet along a perforation in the binding, so that four drawings that previously stood back to back are now moved together. The pre-cut tear lines also encompass each individual drawing – at the same time an invitation to tear them out and hang them on the refrigerator door, color them in with markers, use them as teaching aids, or send them to friends. Or to integrate them into new sequences and groups, up to the absolute counterpart of the linear text: a simultaneous overall view of all drawings.
Dimensions: 205 × 270 mm
Design: Michiko Onozawa, Georg Rutishauser
Publisher: edition fink