All of Michael Winkler's individual works explore the imagery and implications of
'spelled-forms.' Spelled-forms are visualizations of the patterns of alphabetic sequencing
within the signs for written words.
The project relies on a simple process which maps the
letter-code of written words into a fixed circle of uniquely spaced alphabetic points (below:
"All Words"--325 straight lines illustrate all possible relationships of the 26 letters).
For more insights into the ongoing exploration of spelled-forms, their accidental discovery,
and their implications for cultural theory; read "Forms of Language"
here or on the image below)
The circular alphabetic configuration is organized by positioning the consonants between a
symmetry of vowels (the configuration is based on a circle because it is the only two-
dimensional shape which doesn’t have inherent spatial variation on its perimeter).
lines are drawn within the alphabetic circle which connect the letter-points according to
the spelling of words, visual forms are generated. Since the process is rigorous and the
configuration of alphabetic points is fixed, all variations in the imagery are the direct
result of the spelling of words.
(above) Untitled 2015 work commissioned by Daimler Mercedes-Benz
(click on the image to enlarge it)
Mixed-media on stretched canvas; height 183 cm, width 142 cm (72 x 56 inches). *Created in a studio
set up on-site as part of a special project at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Kassel, Germany. In this work,
a common origin of basic forms inherent in the mechanism of human perception is treated as
underlying both the patterning of the signs of language and the structure of mechanical systems.
The work is based on the spelled-forms of 12 German Words.
To access the catalog description, click (here). To access a discussion of the
project (English translation) on The Daimler Blog, click (
An exploration of using the spelling of words to generate the color in
paintings of spelled-forms has been ongoing since 2013--for more
information on the process,
click here or on the image below.
Winkler’s project has attracted interest both within and outside the art community, partly
because it aligns with recent research in the science of how we read words. According to his
2015 article,
"New discoveries should reopen the discussion of signs", it's been discovered
that the code of alphabetic sequencing--the patterning underlying orthography or spelling--
actually constitutes the sign for a written word, not recognition of a word's graphic shape or
image, as had been thought (Bouma Theory was incorrect; the new theory is Parallel Letter
Recognition). Similarly, the sign for a spoken word resides in recognition of ‘the patterning of
the underlying vocalic gestures,’ not in the recognition of the  phonemic components
themselves. The recent discoveries are problematic for cultural theorists and contemporary
philosophers (Ferdinand de Saussure never examined the patterning of vocalic gestures, so
his widely accepted assumption that the signs of language are arbitrary is groundless--
Saussure's assumption is a foundation of most current theories).

The orthography of English words was not devised according to a plan, so any perception of
a meaningful relationship between a word and its visualized patterning is inexplicable. It's not
impossible that the culturally mediated sense of a meaning unintentionally influenced the
evolution of its sign. Until spelling was standardized in dictionaries, it evolved as all signs in
living language evolve--it was formulated by the choices of the collective awareness of all
those who participated in the evolution of the language (some of Winkler’s works explore the
similarity between the hidden patterning in spelling and early artifacts of the emergence of
the symbolic mind). But it's also possible that a meaningful connection between a word and
its image is simply the result of coincidence. But then again, perhaps coincidence itself, as
Carl Jung believed, is the reflection of a deep synchronicity.
Thousands of words in over a dozen Romanized languages have been explored