KATRIN VON MALTZAHN – INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE MOST PERFECT PRONUNCIATION OF THE HUNGARIAN LANGUAGE
39 watercolours on paper, 1998
The goal of speech is understanding. Mastering a language enables communication. Language learning is a leitmotif in Katrin von Maltzahn's work: inventing an alphabet, analyzing English language course books, experiences at a Swedish course for beginners, international sign language, or the drawings presented now, which represent the mouth while pronouncing Hungarian sounds – again and again, the artist takes apart the complex system of language, disassembles the linguistic apparatus, submits its elements to close study individually.
With analytic eyes and her own artistic tools, the artist explores all those aspects of language, as vocabulary, grammar, intonation or dialects, which show variations. The “end result” is often surprising even for. She presents the results as logical systems, which consist of the investigated and visualized elements, representing, as a whole, a new aesthetic quality. Katrin von Maltzahn describes the creation of rule systems thus: “Again and again, it is fascinating to see how the ideas reach, in the course of the work process, the end initially surmised—or how they don't. And when I go into these alterations during the work, the whole game begins anew. And it goes on until I feel that the work is finished, that it has its own language.”
Text: Susanne Ackers