“It is a dance floor for the hand as it moves across the paper. This is how Blank space for greetings provides a framework for potentially thousands of stories.”This is what the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson has to say about his work of art Blank space for greetings which he has created for this year’s stamp in the “Stamp Art” series. What is special about the stamp is that it has been punched out in the middle, creating space for a personal greeting – hence the title.
Issue Date: 30.08.2014 Designer: Post Danmark Stamps/Per Ingemann Printer: Intaglio/Offset Process: Offset Colours: One Colour Intaglio & Two Colour-Offset
This is the third year running that Post Danmark is issuing stamps featuring con- temporary interpretations of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales. The first four stamps in the series were designed by the Chinese designer Shen Jiahong. Last year, they were followed by four stamps designed as part of a joint Sino-Danish partnership involving designers from both countries.
The artist Kathrine Ærtebjerg is responsible for this year’s stamps with motifs from Numbskull Jack and Thumbelina, two of the most well-known and beloved of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales.
In 1855, H.C. Andersen published his fairy tale Numskull Jack. The seemingly naïve and put-upon hero is a figure familiar from pop- ular fairy tales all over the world, often the youngest of three brothers. Confounding all expectations, however, he succeeds in best- ing his two older and more knowledgeable brothers in the battle to win the hand of the princess – largely on account of the strange and seemingly useless objects he gathers up from the road. Numskull Jack and the dead crow feature on the DKK 6.50 stamp.
The fairy tale about Thumbelina was published in 1835, the same year that
Hans Christian Andersen published his first collection of fairy tales. In the story, Hans Christian Andersen imparts the feeling of being different to the little girl, who arrives in the world in the middle of a beautiful tulip. When she is subsequently carried away by the toad and exiled on a lilly pad, she faces having to acquiesce to the toad’s desire for her to marry his son. On
her long journey, she encounters a host of well-meaning characters who all believe they have her best interests at heart, but nobody really understands how Thumbelina feels. It is not until she flees from her upcoming marriage of convenience to a mole that she begins to tap into her own resources. The hideous toad with Thumbelina in his arms is the motif on the DKK 9.00 stamp.
STAMPS FOR CHILDREN AND ADULTS
In interpreting the fairy tales, Kathrine Ærtebjerg has made a point of including a person and an animal in each of the motifs. On the stamp with Thumbelina, the relative dimensions of the person and the animal are reversed, as you often see in fairy tales.
“My intention has been to create simple stamps in bright colours and fun motifs which will appeal to both children and adults,” says Kathrine Ærtebjerg, adding: “I have depicted Numskull Jack as being ener- getic and crafty, bordering on the devilish. Winning the princess and half the kingdom calls for a charismatic man, and this is how I see him. The dramatic motif from Thum- belina, where the toad is seen stealing the sleeping Thumbelina, provides a different take on the mother figure, presenting her as a devious and covetous lady who can nevertheless appreciate Thumbelina’s grace and wants to give her son the best there is \”Kathrine Ærtebjerg’s two stamp motifs conclude the series, which comprises a total of ten stamps.
Issue Date: 30.08.2014 Designer: Post Danmark Stamps / Per Ingemann Printer: Intaglio/Offset Process: Self Adhesive Colours: One Colour Intaglio & Four Colour-Offset Values: 13.00 X 13.50