Math and English mix to showcase poetry

Mustafa Muhammadi (‘19) and Ramesh Gore (‘19) observe trignopoetry.

Massi Faqiri (‘20) / Chips

Massi Faqiri (‘20) / Chips

Mustafa Muhammadi (‘19) and Ramesh Gore (‘19) observe trignopoetry.

Massi Faqiri, Volunteer Writer

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The humanities and math teamed up to create the art exhibition “Trigonopoetry.” The exhibit created by Tiberiu Chelcea opened on Oct. 22.

Chelcea, a Romanian artist who relocated to the United States to pursue a PhD in computer science, created the works that comprise the “Trignopoetry” exhibit in Preus LIbrary.

He gathered words and phrases from 1920s trigonometry textbooks and turned them into expressive poems and paintings. According to Chelcea, he uses diverse mediums from poetry, art and language to depict the coexistence of the three mediums and to create a unique means of communication and expression.

“Poetry is an art of codes,” Chelcea said.

He was inspired by the impact of art, which was at its peak during the Romanian Communist era, when the state was spreading propaganda through manipulated and censored media.

In “Trigonopoetry,” Chelcea uses homographs, which are words that are spelled the same but pronounced differently, to combine trigonometric terminology with literature. For instance, “sin,” a trigonometric ratio, is used in its other meaning of “sin” which is an immoral act against the divine law.

Chelcea uses other trigonometric terms such as “value” and “ambiguity” in the same way. He considers these homographs a skill of trigonopoetry which can be words of expression.

Chelcea finds that “Trigonopoetry” opens new perspectives in poetry through its interaction with math and science. He compared his exhibit to the classical European arts which are all drawn and measured by mathematical eyes.

Gallery Coordinator David Kamm  admires “Trigonopoetry” in the sense that it is an innovative combination of art, math and language. He believes that it provies and opportunity to rethink the direction and meaning of art.

“His works are engaging and colorful,” Kamm said. “It is a combination of design, colors and words, like a conversation with you, so we can call it a new form of dialogue.”

Art major Martha Hall (‘18) believes that Chelcea’s exhibition has given a visual context to trigonometry.

“This is a creative innovation in art, where we see trigonometry speaking to us in the body of art,” Hall said.

Chelcea wants “Trigonopoetry” to inspire viewers.

“I want the exhibit to encourage everyone to dare to do and create something which no one has done before,” Chelcea said. “There should be no need for resources when one wants to create something based on his or her latent skills and creativity.”

However, Chelcea does not want to define a takeaway lesson and message for his pieces to the audience. He wants to leave it up to the audience’s interpretation so that they can perceive them in their own ways and find their own meanings in the artistic pieces.

Hall also considers “Trigonopoetry” an inspirational innovation in art.

“It gives us a vision of the liberal arts, where art invites and combines with different disciplines,” Hall said. “We can feel how they collaborate and coexist together.”

The exhibit will close on Dec. 11.

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