Ferdinand Kriwet

Rundscheibe IX

currently on display

Werk - Rundscheibe IX
Artist / Artist group
Ferdinand Kriwet
Rundscheibe IX
sculpture, Kinetic installation, Offset print
Material / Technique
variable object ; offset print on rotatable chipboard, wooden board
Dimensions / Duration
62 cm diameter
ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe

»There are ten round discs that contain texts. Only black and white. The options seemed to me to have been exhausted. I constructed each text differently, with primary and secondary motifs, with texts that were easy or difficult to read, each letter stamped by hand.« [1] (Kriwet, 2011)

Ferdinand Kriwet’s poetic-programmatic discs were mostly made between 1961 and 1963 and are the artist’s signature work. Viewers can attempt to read the writing, which is in spirals, inverted, mirrored, or broken into rings and circles. »Round Disc IX« features German coinages such as 'ZAHNARBEHAARING' or 'HUMMELEIHEULEREI', for example. In this union of text and image there is no prescribed reading direction: The text has neither a beginning nor an end.

The round discs are one part of this German artist’s so-called »Sehtexte« [visual texts]. In these works, text is placed in the focus of our perception, contrary to our normal mode of seeing. They demonstrate both the visual dimension of writing and the potential for whole pictures to be assembled from text.

In 1965, Kriwet agreed to allow the DuMont Schauberg publishing house to publish his »Sehtexte« at the request of his publisher and friend Ernst Brücher, under the title »leserattenfaenge« [bookworm traps].

[1] Helga Meister, »Über den Anfang und die Anfänge: Gespräch mit Ferdinand Kriwet,« in: Gregor Jansen (ed.), Kriwet: Yester ’n’ Today, exhib. cat., DuMont, Cologne, 2011, pp. 126–29, here p. 126.

Author: Hannah-Maria Winters

About the artist/s