In the Land of Punctuation

by: Christian Morgenstern and Rathna Ramanathan

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In the Land of Punctuation by Christian Morgenstern and Rathna Ramanathan / ISBN 9789383145157 / A handmade silk-screened 32-page hardcover, about 9.25 x 14 inches, from Tara Books (India)

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First published in 1905, German poet Christian Morgenstern’s piece is a darkly comic linguistic caprice. Illustrated with punctuation marks, the text is a romp, and yet the political undertones are unmistakable, suggesting menacing systems of control. Rathna Ramanathan balances bold experimentation with precise communication to create a book that reinvents design as argument. Her art and design invoke icons, styles and genres of early twentieth century western and Russian avant-garde traditions to make a compelling argument about freedom of expression. This book is silkscreen-printed onto handmade paper, with each page an art print.

Designer Rathna Ramanathan has steered the design philosophy of Tara since the very beginning. In the process, she can be said to have pioneered innovative children’s book design in India. Her main interest is in typography as well as in changing the form of the book. She runs minus9, her own graphic design studio, and is currently the Head of Visual Communication at the Royal College of Art, London.