compassion, collaboration & cooperation iN transistion
This high-profile bravura exhibition in London's West End is the first of
its kind to set before the general public the work of artists and designers
who suffer from dyslexia. Most of the 73 exhibitors are members of the
Arts Dyslexia Trust and the idea was to present work, not only from the
fine arts, but from designers of all kinds including scientists and engineers.
An exhibition of works by visually inventive minds demonstrating the
"art of the possible" - as Michael Grove puts it in his electronic media
programme - both past and present.
Thomas G. West will be giving illustrated talks and leading discussions on -
"aspects of visual thinking" - throughout the course of the exhibition.
No one typifies the powerful visually-dominant mind better than Leonardo. The sheer breadth of talent that he displayed - he could solve problems in astronomy, mathematics, engineering, geology, optics, physiology, music, botany and comparative anatomy - while being best known to us and probably to his contemporaries as an artist, scientist, and inventor - all this gives a measure of the depth of potential such a MIND can contain. It shows too the integrative global vision which is often a feature of innovative dyslexic thought.
His way of thinking is most transparently revealed in what must be his greatest gift to posterity - the famous Notebooks. Five pages from these can be studied in this exhibition. But not only is the brilliant inventive mind and the unsurpassed skill in drawing made abundantly clear in these pages, so is his verbal irregularity. Beautiful as it is to look at his writing contains many eccentric errors of spelling, of a kind which is often seen by experienced assessors of dyslexic writing. They would also recognise an all too familiar inability to order the pages correctly. At one point he says disarmingly that he will put his notes in order " when I have time ", but, of course, there were always more interesting things to do.
He was left-handed and his right to left - "mirror writing" is often commented on. Less well known, perhaps, is the fact that he could also paint or draw backwards - sometimes portraying a landscape scene in mirrored form. This can be checked from actual landscapes which still exist.
Aware of his own lingusitic problems he wrote " They will say that being without letters I cannot
say properly what I want to treat of ". He refutes such allegations by pointing out elsewhere that the use of drawing " gives knowledge that is impossible for writers " to convey in words " without an infinitely tedious and confused prolixity of writing ". Put simply: good drawing can sometimes shout louder than words!
An example of his brilliant use of visual spatial analogy was his application of the principles of arch construction to the design of a self-sealing gate for canal locks. He simply turned the arch on its side, so that the vertical pressure and arch withstands in a building was replaced by the horizontal pressure of water in a river.
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