The connections between art and the artful design of the letters of the alphabet go back both to the art of the scribes in the medieval monasteries, and to the artist’s own background as a poet. In illuminated manuscripts, initials were decorated and embellished into what is sometimes referred as inhabited initials, incorporating figures, architectural elements and plants. In Interlettre Reuterswärd focused on the swelling, bulging forms between the strict vertical lines of the visible letters. Or as Susan Sontag wrote in ”The Unseen Alphabet” Inter-letters are mostly trunk and torso.”
By making the invisible space in-between seen, Reuterswärd highlights the necessity of balancing opposing elements, without inter-letter no letter is possible.
Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd, also known as CFR, is an artist, poet and writer, and a former professor at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm. He is the artist behind the well-known sculpture Non-Violence, found in different international cities but first placed in front of the United Nations headquarter in New York City. The sculpture, a revolver with its barrel turned into a knot, was created in response to the murder of John Lennon in 1980. Reuterswärd, sometimes referred to as a neo-dadaist, regularly uses words and wordplay as well as humor and unexpected constellations of images. His work is represented in several international public collections such as Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Centre Pompidou, Paris, and Museum Sprengel, Hanover.
The twelve sculptures in the series Interlettre explore language and letter. Other works in the permanent collection that use language in various ways are Jenny Holzer, Yoko Ono and Sarah Schwartz, and in sound based works, Janet Cardiff and Marianne Lindberg De Geer.