Liu Dan. Dictionary. China, 1991. Ink and watercolor on paper. Image: 81 1/8 in. × 10 ft. (206 × 304.8 cm). Lent by Collection of Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang
Artists have utilized various interventions—writing with dilute ink or with a burning instrument or by employing trompe l'oeil realism on a grand scale—to divorce writing from its traditional role and give it a new pictorial or sculptural dimension. The brush-written components of Chinese calligraphy have even been deconstructed and adapted to transform English into a character-based form of communication.