History of Human Rights and their manifold declarations goes back far in time. Documents with ideas of steadfast Human Rights from Mesopotamia are over four millennia old. In the world of ancient Greeks Human Rights were known. However, the then accepted notion as to who was to be seen a Human, thus for whom those so-called Human Rights would apply, is nowadays by many judged as far behind the times.
The idea of universal Human Rights valid for all humans basically goes back to the French Revolution of 1789. It is a moral approach, based on the belief that there is a universal human dignity, that is to be protected by all means. From this derive a number of universal, inalienable rights, which are to be guaranteed in their entirety, always. Basically it is about rights of an individuum of freedom and self-determination. Amongst them ar the right of physical inviolability, the right of freedom of opinion and freedom of information, freedom of religion, and freedom of the choice of profession, also the presumption of innocence of a defendant and their right for a fair and public trial.
In 2005 I chose 16 articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as laid down at the UN, and designed a purely typographic artist’s book. There was only one fount I could think of for this book: Futura. It is unmatched in chasteness and plain beauty. It has been reduced to the very basics of lettering, designed for pure communication.
I wanted the artist’s book to be reflective of the articles’ unlimited validity. It wanted it to have the charisma of the sovereign. And it was to represent hope.
The paper used for printing is Fedrigoni Tintoretto merino – which is a fine greyish shade of green – with green beeing the colour of hope. I burnished the wood grain of an old weathered bord on the sheets, again in green. Every single line is a growth ring, it is time materialised in wood grain. Thus these lines make time visible and refer to the duration of validity.
All text has been hand set from Futura and is escorted by strong borders. These deliberately do not form a closed frame. They have not the intention to close in and restrict, they want to ward off and support. At last, the book was given a cover made from red silk – referring to the cloak of a sovereign.
The artist’s book is a twin concertina whose pages can be turned endlessy over and over – one more reference to the lasting validity of Human Rights. Whith the pages turning the books goes into a soft swinging motion, as if it came to life. It can of course, just as well, present itself as a static object on a plinth. The text is in German. The size of the artist’s book is 29x42cm, it comes with 2×8 pages. It is a limited edition of five numbered and signed copies. Published 2005.
In 2006 this book was accepted at the second Biennial for the Artist’s book at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt. One copy is now part of the Bibliotheca’s inventory.
There is another post about this piece of art work on my blog in the category Artist’s Books from August 2015.