The Belgian poet and artist Christian Dotremont (1922-1979) is internationally renowned for his logograms, the first of which he created in 1962. He said of these works: « What I do, in short, is exaggerate the natural freedom of writing ». At the centre of his creations lay spontaneity, the guiding principle of the CoBrA movement.
Writing for him was, before giving it content, a physical activity of drawing that he wished to load with meaning. Dotremont wanted above all to depart from the strict yoke of Arabic writing in order to invest it with feelings and spontaneity. Such drawing had to be done quickly, as soon as a thought occurred, thereby enabling interaction between text and sense. Interaction, moreover, that must enable the writing, rendered illegible as it is freed from the strict form in which it is cast, to be born as a completely spontaneous text, freed from the impersonal straightjacket that hinders all true expression.
Logograms are a form of visual poetry, of « word-drawings » or « word-paintings »: elements of writing flow onto sheets of white paper, traced out by a brush dipped in Indian ink, or by the tube itself. Dotremont also alternated different types of paper, sometimes thick, other times fine, absorbing the ink or not. Everything was done to safeguard the spontaneity of the work and to thwart all automatic reflexes.