Dero Abecedarius and Other Selected Work


Part of "Illuminated Script": a special section.

I started work on Dero Abecedarius in mid-July 2001.

The work has two principles of order: it develops alphabetically and uses New York's Statue of Liberty as a primary motif. Dero presents the statue, a sort of public-relations symbol, in several variations. This allows me to explore the theme of freedom -- poetically and theoretically -- as it relates to the somewhat absurd representations of it that abound in consumer culture.

Dero develops according to three patterns -- 1. A-C, D-F, G-I, J-L, M, N-R, S-U, V-Z; 2. A-C, D-F, G-I, J-L, M, N-R, S-T, U-Y, Z; 3. A-C, D-F, G-I, J-L, M, N-P, O-R, S-T, V-Y, Z -- and four corresponding sign pairs: black/poetic, green/poetry, blue/ABC, red/my biography.

I've coded several ideas into Dero based on (a) my personal experiences in the US and (b) the absurd idea that letters have their own representational meanings. The alphabet is its own sign-world with its own rules, and Dero explores these apparent "unliberties" and so-called organizational principles.

I originally created Dero for an exhibition that opened November 8, 2001 at the Deutsches Buch- und Schriftmuseum Museum in Leipzig. I finished it on the 21st of October of the same year and made a good number of edits to the project after the September 11th attacks.

I build most of my visual poetry in the same way. First, I make image collages and then incorporate text-elements. After that, I usually correct a few things in the resulting image-word picture. By September 11, 2001, I'd completed all the primary collages and also some of the text elements. Reviewing Dero in the aftermath of 9/11, I noticed some disturbing connections between the work and the events of that day. (On pages F, M, O and Z, for example.) To mute these coincidental overlaps, I added an "N" page, some other new image elements into the existing collages of pages R and Y, and a full two pages after Z. Originally, Dendro had 28 pages, but now, in its final form, it has 32.

Dendro is composed of handwriting and collages on DIN A4 paper and is part of the Dencker-Archive Kunstbibliothek Berlin/Stiftung Preuβischer Kulturbesitz. It was first published in the monograph Klaus Peter Dencker, Visuelle Poesie 1965-2005 (Ed. Kunstbibliothek, Berlin. Weitra/Austria, 2006), 252-281. A 50-copy, 34-page special edition was published by Redfox press on Achill Island, Ireland on inkjet-printed 210 gr Rives BFK DIN A 4 paper. This edition is presented in a black box and all copies are numered and signed. For more information on the special edition, and to order a copy, click here: (December 18, 2011).

Editor's Note editor Quimby Melton edited the preface for clarity. (Read the original).

Further Reading & Resources

  1. Dencker Collection, Kunstbibliothek Berlin/Preuβischer Kulturbesitz
  2. Monographs
  3. Optical Poetry
  4. Reviews
  5. Web Texts

Citation: Dencker, Klaus Peter. 8 December 2012. "Dero Abecedarius and Other Selected Work." (accessed [PDT / -7:00]).

Updated: December 8, 2012 at 5:37 pm (PDT / -7:00)

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