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Intrograph is a project that I started in 2005. I was eager to know what art medium suits those best who think as much with words as with images. I felt myself close to artists who were at the same time painters and poets

The term paragraph comes from Latin Paragraphus. Its Greek equivalent, Paragraphos, refers to a line dividing two dialogues of a play. Para means ‘in the margin’ and Graphus is ‘to write’. Put together, it means ‘writing in the margin’. I use intrograph here to designate the opposite: to write within the image. With it, I try to name efforts made at combining text and image. Of course, this is not something new, rather what has always existed, yet it well deserves a name

In the long run, no expressive potential remains unnoticed by artists. An issue such as juxtaposition of text and image has received and continues to receives the attention of many artists. Many branches of visual arts (from illustration to cartoon strip as well as many subcategories of graphic design) study this connection. Writers and poets deal with it in their own way. The use of punctuation marks and paragraphing are all among the visual potentials of writing. Hence I shall make clear here what intrograph is not about

To begin with, intrograph is not simply illustration or graphic design. Illustration usually begins with a finished text and graphic design considers text as one visual block, and as such, is not much concerned with what happens to the verbal aspect of the text through design. The reason is because these two specializations have been divided into two different disciplines: design starts where the text ends. In intrograph, images do not necessarily have priority over the written. Even if there is a preference, it is for the text not the image. Here, image and text negotiate and even argue with one another in order to give rise to something different. Here creating an ‘artwork’ is preferred to design: the aim is to create a combination that can stand on its feet without recourse to any additional function. In fact, the result should be such that the whole thing falls to the ground with the segregation of text and image. It is closer to painting than graphic design. It is closest to concrete poetry.

Intrograph, or whatever you may call it, enjoys, like any other artistic inclination, a history of its own. If it has not turned into an independent discipline it is because there was no specific function for it in the market.  From Guillaume Apollinaire who used to write poem resembling everyday objects in his Cubist style to Paul Klee who colored the spaces between letters in order to reduce the speed of reading such a concern has always been present. Similar attempts have been made by Iranian visual artists and authors. In this case, the particular history of Persian mind in combining text and image should also be taken into consideration; a relation that was always dominated by poetry: a great deal of Islamic art and architecture is actually a combination of text and image. In the archive of this website, we try to gather such attempts.

This is an experimental project. At its best, it is a laboratory with things to see, steal and combine. It goes without saying that there is no monopoly in an experimental project. Yet, everybody have their own concern. Mine has been, for a long time, the symbiosis of text and image. It still is. Bavand Behpoor

باوند بهپور©۱۳۹۱

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