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Drawing Time, Reading Time

THE D R AWI N G CENTER


The Drawing Center November 15, 2013 – January 12, 2014


Drawing Time, Reading Time

Curated by Claire Gilman


D R AW I N G PA P E R S 10 8

Essays by Claire Gilman and Melissa Gronlund


Foreword


Drawing Time, Reading Time and Marking Language are parallel exhibitions that explore the relationship between linguistic communication and drawing in recent art. Occurring contemporaneously at The Drawing Center, New York, and Drawing Room, London— the first such collaboration between two institutions committed to the significance of drawing—our exhibitions present two distinct theses through a diverse selection of work by an international roster of artists. In each case the selected artists take language and the written word as the subject of their work. They examine the codes, symbols, and structures of language, while at the same time acknowledging and harnessing the personal and cultural context in which the work is produced. Rather than denying the subjective, expressive form of language, as many artists sought to do in the 1960s, or foregrounding language’s key role in defining identity, as others did in the 1980s and ’90s, the artists in Drawing Time, Reading Time and Marking Language articulate paths between the formal properties and coded meanings of words and text. In short, these exhibitions investigate drawing and writing as distinct yet interrelated modes of expression. The Drawing Center and Drawing Room exploit the geographic distance between their two exhibitions, which are mounted on opposite sides of the Atlantic, by looking across continents and back in time in order to explore the richness and complexity of the even broader creative territory of drawing and writing. The two exhibitions are straddled only by Pavel Büchler’s Conversational Drawings 1, a series of 14 drawings that have been split between the two venues. It is a paradoxical instance of commonality, as Büchler’s drawings show hands engaged in what looks to be sign language but is in fact only shadow puppetry. Such misrecognitions are the point. Written and spoken language is itself full of lacunae, and both shows explore this condition. Indeed, the fact that these two very different yet related exhibitions occur simultaneously on opposite shores testifies to the open and inexhaustible nature of the subject they share. —Claire Gilman and Kate Macfarlane

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Acknowledgments

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When Kate Macfarlane and I began discussing a collaboration between our institutions, I had been contemplating an exhibition about the relationship between drawing and writing for some time. Three years and many conversations later, I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with Kate as well as former Drawing Room associate director Katherine Stout, who was engaged in the formative stages of the project. I am grateful for such industrious and enthusiastic colleagues, and hope that this is the start of many collaborations to come. For my part, I must first of all thank the artists whose extraordinary and wide-ranging production grounds Drawing Time, Reading Time. It is an honor to present the work of Carl Andre, Pavel B端chler, Guy de Cointet, Mirtha Dermisache, Sean Landers, Nina Papaconstantinou, Allen Ruppersberg, Molly Springfield, and Deb Sokolow, many of whom I have had the pleasure of getting to know through the exhibition process. This exhibition would not have been possible without the generous support of the following lenders: James-Keith Brown and Eric Diefenbach; Christine Burgin and William Wegman; Sean and Teresa Connell; Paula Cooper Gallery; Claire Copley Eisenberg; Henrique Faria Fine Art; Greene Naftali; Kalfayan Galleries; Susan Matheson; Allan McCollum; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; C. Christine Nichols; Friedrich Petzel Gallery; A.G. Rosen; Eve Sinaiko; Texas Gallery; Jean-Edouard Van Praet; Beth Rudin DeWoody; Western Exhibitions; Max Wigram Gallery; Dr. Georgia Witkin; and a number of lenders who wished to remain anonymous. In addition, several galleries and individuals provided invaluable assistance in locating specific works and expediting their inclusion in the exhibition and reproduction in the publication. I am especially grateful to Anthony Allen and Cat Kron at Paula Cooper Gallery; Lucie Amour at VAGA; Florence Bonnefous at Air de Paris; Kathy Curry at the Museum of Modern Art; Kerry Gaertner at Art Resource;

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Tappan Heher; Aimé Iglesias Lukin at Henrique Faria Fine Art; Yuli Karatsiki at Kalfayan Galleries; Mireille Mosler; and Alexandra Tuttle and Martha Fleming-Ives at Greene Naftali. The Drawing Center’s staff provided invaluable assistance in realizing this exhibition. Special thanks to Brett Littman, Executive Director; our wonderful interns Elizabeth Gambal, Annie Kramer, Gabriella Perez, Alessia Pizziconi, Blake Ruehrwein, and Kate Smith; and especially to Nova Benway, Curatorial Assistant, who managed the logistics of putting this show together with great finesse. Thanks also to Molly Gross, Communications Director; Anna Martin, Registrar; Dan Gillespie, Operations Manager; Nicole Goldberg, Deputy Director, External Affairs; Jonathan T.D. Neil, Executive Editor; Joanna Ahlberg, Managing Editor; and Peter J. Ahlberg/AHL&CO, Designer. I would also like to thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia which supported the production of this publication. Finally, I am profoundly indebted to a number of individuals who were there at the final hour in order to make this show possible. I am truly moved by the outpouring of assistance I received from friends and supporters and I wish them to know that I am deeply grateful. My most sincere thanks to Amanda Foreman and Jonathan Barton; David Diamond and Karen Zukowski; Agnes Gund; HRH Princess Firyal of Jordan; Kathleen Irvin Loughlin; Morris Orden; Irene Panagopoulos; Sarah Peter; Elizabeth and Felix Rohatyn; Gil Shiva; Frank Williams; and the supporters who wish to remain anonymous. —Claire Gilman

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Drawing Time, Reading Time Claire Gilman

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Drawing Time, Reading Time brings together an international group of artists whose work dates from the 1960s to today. Each artist is engaged in exploring the relationship between drawing and linguistic communication as distinct yet interrelated phenomenological gestures. Now commonplace, visual art’s preoccupation with language had its roots in an unexpected linguistic turn circa 1960, when artists sought to recover a direct, sensory experience of the world. Paradoxically, language became a favored tool in this effort, as artists such as Mel Bochner, Hanne Darboven, and Lawrence Weiner submitted the written word to verbal and visual manipulation in order to evacuate conventional meaning and uncover the materiality of language. As Laura Hoptman points out in her catalogue essay for the recent Museum of Modern Art exhibition Ecstatic Alphabets/Heaps of Language, artists mining words in the late 1950s and 1960s tended to “use language as a medium like paint, dissecting and rearranging letters, words, and phrases to create works of art whose form and content were meant to be one and the same.”1 In this endeavor, they joined abstract painters and sculptors of the same period, updating modernism’s century-old effort to expurgate literary reference and cultivate the work of art complete unto itself. Drawing Time, Reading Time considers a different path, one that emerged simultaneously with conceptual art but that embraced language as a means of questioning the written word’s communicative transparency on the one hand and visual art’s material opacity on the other. In considering drawing specifically—rather than the visual arts more generally—Drawing Time, Reading Time participates in a field of inquiry that has intrigued art and literary critics for decades, namely what defines mark-making as such. Such analyses have tended to examine the graphic relationship between writing and

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Laura Hoptman, “This Language is Ecstatic Because,” in Dexter Sinister (David Reinfurt, Stuart Bailey), edited with Angie Keefer, Ecstatic Alphabets/Heaps of Language, Issue n. 3 of Bulletins of the Serving Library (Berlin: Sternberg Press), 181.


drawing, equating them as material gestures.2 In contrast, the nine artists in Drawing Time, Reading Time do not question writing or drawing’s integrity as distinct disciplines, each with its own parameters. Rather, they investigate ways in which each discipline has a dual character, and how, when considered together, they reflect upon and complicate each other. Like writing (and more so than painting), drawing is processual or path-like in nature. As David Rosand observes in his important book Drawing Acts, “drawing is a more open medium than painting,” whose ultimate purpose (even in the case of something as linear as Jackson Pollock’s drips) is to achieve an all-over composition. The drawn line embodies temporality in that it is a record of a gesture, a past action now solidified in the present.3 But as a now static object, it is also contained and consumed all at once. To witness the written mark in or as a drawing is to undo typical modes of reception by disrupting both narrative flow and visual instantaneity. By physicalizing the written gesture through drawing, on the one hand, and revealing a narrative intention in mark-making on the other, the artists in Drawing Time, Reading Time focus attention on drawing and writing’s desire for expression as well as the obstacles to it. Considering his reputation as a sculptor, and a minimalist one at that, the inclusion of Carl Andre in Drawing Time, Reading Time may come as a surprise. Indeed, Andre’s poems have long been overshadowed by his wood and metal floor compositions, which exemplify the non-narrative bent that predominated among his New York peers. Discussion of the poems (which have been

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The following is just a sample of the many exhibitions that have recently explored the graphic relationship between drawing and writing: Textuality: An International Exhibit of Works Involving Text or Letterforms (Manifest Gallery, Cincinatti, Ohio, 2012); Art = Text = Text (The Harnett Museum, University of Richmond Museums, 2011); Poor. Old. Tired. Horse (The ICA, London, 2009); Drawing—In and Outside— Writing (Lier, Belgium, 2011). For critical discussions, see Jacque Derrida’s Of Grammatology, trans. Gayatri Spivak (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998); Serge Tisseron’s “All Writing is Drawing: The Spatial Development of a Manuscript,” Yale French Studies No. 84 (1994), 29-42; and any number of books by Roland Barthes. See David Rosand, Drawing Acts: Studies in Graphic Expression and Representation (New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 2.


exhibited as art objects since their museum debut at The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, in 1973) has typically cast this work in line with Andre’s sculpture: Andre employs words like building blocks; that is, as non-narrative elements in the service of abstract visual and sonic form. In fact, although Andre does play with the form of letters and words through spacing, pattern, and occasionally color, his word choices are hardly neutral. Rather, they often invoke war, religion, colonization, and, more specifically, the founding of Andre’s native Quincy, Massachusetts.4 Andre’s disconnected words resonate with potent force—“war imp men men men…”—even as spacing interrupts narrative flow and forces the reader/viewer to confront the mute materiality of the typewriter ink on the page. As Andre asserts, “It is impossible to make words devoid of human associations.”5 And further: “I know very well that words are not things. But words do have palpable tactile qualities….”6 It is this tension between communicative transcendence and material resistance that Andre’s poetry explores. On the opposite coast and a decade later, Allen Ruppersberg took a more self-consciously reflective approach to the relationship between text and image. Throughout his career, Ruppersberg has sought escape from the strictures of New York conceptual art, not least through his preoccupation with literature, which is exemplified in this exhibition by a series of drawings of, and about, books. Dating from the early 1970s to the late 1980s, these drawings almost invariably present a bird’s-eye view of closed books lying at a 45-degree angle to an otherwise empty picture plane. The pencil drawings vary in execution: some are extremely precise, others quite sketchy. The selections are often whimsical—consider The Gift and the Inheritance (Why not Draw) (1989) by John Lee—and accompanied by Ruppersberg’s commentary: “A good drawing (of a book at

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Significantly, these associations are reinforced by longer, more ode-like compositions pertaining to charged subjects such as slavery, for example Andre’s The Hanging of John Brown, which is about that American abolitionist. Andre, “It is Impossible to Make Work Devoid of Human Associations…” (1979). Re-printed in Andre and James Meyer, Cuts: Texts 1959-2004 (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2005), 291. Andre, “Poetry, Vision, Sound” (1975), in Andre and Meyer, Cuts: Texts 1959-2004, 214.


sunrise)”; “Two fictional works. One American. One Italian.” One series even notes the amount of time it took Ruppersberg to read the book: “Reading Time: 175 hrs. 32 min. 10 secs.”; “Reading Time: 2 hrs. 58 min.” The contrast between the time it takes to read the book depicted, the time necessary to depict it, and the time required to observe this depiction is what impresses here, as if all these experiences could somehow be encapsulated and comprehended on a static sheet of paper. In general, the artist’s typically closed tomes both tease and thwart the viewer’s desire to know more. Indeed, Ruppersberg’s annotations frequently supply the context in which his investigations occur [“a good drawing (of a book at sunrise”)] while leaving specific content aside. This effort to evade content—to consider less what drawing and writing communicate than the inquiries that they stimulate—is the concern of much of the work in Drawing Time, Reading Time, from Argentinian conceptualist Mirtha Dermisache’s invented graphisms, through contemporary Greek artist Nina Papaconstantinou’s labor-intensive transcriptions of entire texts in carbon copy on single pieces of paper, to California transplant Guy De Cointet’s coded text drawings, whose encrypted phrases often derive from the melodramatic stage performances the artist directed in the 1970s and early 1980s. A favorite of literary critic Roland Barthes, Dermisache developed a stunningly inventive model of asemic writing, producing page upon page of painstakingly hand-drawn scripts that she frequently bound as books and compiled into low-cost editions.7 Dermisache’s mastery lies in her ability to alter her script to the genre at hand: dramatic, looping swirls for a series of letters; steady, uninterrupted units for

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In his 1973 essay “Variations sur l’ecriture,” Barthes cites Dermisache alongside André Masson and Bernard Réquichot as exemplary of, what he terms, “fictive, imaginary writing.” See Barthes, Œuvres completes: Tome IV, 1972-1975 (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 2002), 284. Moreover, in a letter to Dermisache dated March 28, 1973, he observes: “I was impressed not only by the high physical quality of your traces…but above all by the extreme intelligence of the theoretical problems of writing that your work supposes.” Barthes, quoted in Edgardo Cozarinsky, “Á propos des Écritures [:] Multiples de Mirtha Dermisache,” Le Cahier du Refuge No. 130 (September, 2004), 11. All translations are my own.


newspaper print. Tilting this way and that, Dermisache’s dense overlaid characters seem to want to struggle back to coherence even as they are weighed down by the drips and streaks that comprise their own inky form. This expressive intention is similarly conveyed by Papaconstantinou’s ongoing Bookcase project, variously-sized grids of densely worked monochromes in a range of blues, from light and bright to deep and dark, hung vertically on the wall. The monochromes are in fact a dense network of unreadable transcriptions of well-known novels, poems, and plays that Papaconstantinou copies onto paper via single pieces of carbon copy paper. The notion that language is grounded in absence, familiar from decades of structuralist and poststructuralist thought, is rendered palpable in the Bookcase drawings, where the written word exists less as a positive entity than as a removal from the fullness represented by the once unmolested carbon paper. Unreadable yet tangible, the linguistic murmuring undercuts the immersive all-at-onceness of Papaconstantinou’s color fields, giving the lie to the promise of visual immediacy. A similar irresolution pervades De Cointet’s drawings, which take words and phrases evocative of soap operas and melodramas and encrypt them via coded lettering and mirror writing alongside colorful signs and symbols such as stars and dashes. In many cases, De Cointet’s drawings are readable, for instance, if one holds a work upside down and on its side in front of a mirror, but the absurdity of this endeavor is the point. As a genre, melodrama is defined by meanings that always exceed reality’s capacity for expression. De Cointet’s visual maneuvers serve both to stimulate and thwart linguistic sense. This is true of the drawings themselves and also of the artist’s performances, many of which employ the drawings as props. As one critic observes in relation to De Cointet, “trying to understand” is sometimes more interesting than any “immediate knowledge.”8 This sentiment could just as well apply to UK-based artist Pavel Büchler, whose contribution to Drawing Time, Reading 8

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Marie Muracciola, “It’s Your First Mirage, Sophie: Marie Muracciola on Guy de Cointet at Le Quartier, Centre, d’art contemporain de Quimper,” Texte Zur Kunst (January, 2011), 208.


Time, appearances aside, does not depict hands engaged in sign language but shadow puppetry. In this case, the communicative drive is all that is on view since no real conversation is being had.9 For several of the artists in Drawing Time, Reading Time, a willingness to court miscommunication goes hand in hand with an explicit critique of 1960s conceptual and minimal art. These include younger artists Molly Springfield and Deb Sokolow, as well as Sean Landers, whose work is often seen to be in dialogue with that of California conceptualists such as Ruppersberg. Both Landers and Sokolow invoke the novel as a literary form, Sokolow in an ongoing project involving hand-drawn chapters for a book that will never fully exist, and Landers in, among other works, his epic [sic] (1993), a stream-of-consciousness text that he has hand-written on 451 pages of yellow legal paper and mounted on the wall. (The text has also been published in book form preserving Landers’s handwriting and manual corrections.) Sokolow’s school-ruled panels and Landers’s legal-pad wall drawing deliver brilliant send ups of minimalist and conceptual austerity. In each case, lines of prose replace the modernist grid. Sokolow’s panels also bear photographs, collage, and painted geometric figures such as triangles and rectangles. These forms serve as illustrations for the wild and ultimately unresolvable conspiracies she investigates. Yet they also resemble nothing so much as mute studies for minimalist art objects. As Landers has described his vast accumulation of yellow-ruled pages, “it was Conceptual art,” but one that “literally dripped with humanity.”10 Humorous as it is, [sic] also exploits its hybridity to offer a profound meditation on self-identity. Landers agonizes in his text about whether he is a writer or an artist, a success or failure. “After all, I am from the instant gratification generation. I want this thing

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These drawings are part of a larger series based on illustrations from instruction manuals, such as for performing card tricks, teaching oneself guitar chords, etc., wherein the object is always absent. They are executed on carbonless copy paper, the idea being that the image will ultimately fade away and disappear. Notably, Büchler did produce a series of sign language drawings many years ago—they were done blindfolded. Caoimhín Mac Giolla Leíth and Beatrix Ruff, interview with Sean Landers, in Ruff ed., Sean Landers (Zurich: JRP|Ringier, 2008), 37.


read by people right away,” he insists on page 429.11 Installing [sic] on the wall and turning the novel into a drawing achieves this kind of immediacy, but it does so at the expense of comprehension. The result, once again, is a work that foregrounds the desire for communication, something the enormous wall drawing and 451-page novel stimulate in different ways. This confusion between two different modes of reception is evident in Landers’s self-contradictory statements. On the one hand he begs his audience not to be “skip around readers,”12 while on the other he asserts: “The majority of this will be nearly unreadable. That doesn’t matter, don’t read this. It doesn’t matter what it says just that it is. You see?”13 In one way or another, almost all of the contributions to Drawing Time, Reading Time invoke the personal or biographical. Often, as in Landers’s confessional novel or Sokolow’s unreliable narratives, they do so via a semi-fictitious persona. But even in these cases, the presence of an authorial subject is taken seriously, which allows the artists to put themselves forward in their work all the while questioning the very sincerity of this endeavor. Pursuant to this, with the exception of Andre’s typewriter drawings, the work in Drawing Time, Reading Time is all hand drawn.14 Indeed, filtering language through the indexical mark and an author’s guiding hand is key to each artist’s approach. This physical application is perhaps nowhere more evident than in Molly Springfield’s careful, labor-intensive drawings of pages from landmark volumes on conceptual art. Springfield’s process is complex and, in some respects, her minutely rendered pencil drawings of interior pages form the perfect complement to Ruppersberg’s closed volumes. Significantly, however, hers are not straightforward replications of book pages, but rather, reproductions of these pages as they have been photocopied, complete with chiaroscuro renderings

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Sean Landers, [sic] (East Hampton, NY: Glenn Horowitz Booksellers, 1993), 429. Landers, [sic], 431. Landers, [sic], 5. Although not made by hand, one can think of some typewritten marks as indexical in that the inky impressions bear the weight of a hand gesture. Indeed, manual typewriting is an intensely physical act.


of ink smudges and torn-paper book marks sticking out from their compressed pages. There are numerous reasons for Springfield’s incorporation of the photocopy into drawing, but paradoxically, and despite the reference to conceptual-art projects such as Mel Bochner’s 1966 photocopy binders or Seth Siegelaub’s 1968 Xerox Book, her intention is not to undermine the authority of the handmade work. Rather, by carefully duplicating these photocopied pages, Springfield focuses attention on the use to which these volumes have been put. She reintroduces the human component into work that deliberately sought to suppress it. There is perhaps no better way to perceive the limitations of Sol LeWitt’s call to mechanize artistic process, for example, than to see his “Sentences on Conceptual Art” handled in this way, the myriad slips of paper offering evidence of the many readers who have applied themselves to his instructions. What Springfield reveals here—as do all of the artists in Drawing Time, Reading Time—is the impossibility of arresting the flow of meaning, even if this process takes diverse forms or is incomplete and accompanied by failure.

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Decodable Signals Melissa Gronlund

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In a bravura passage of writing from Vladimir Nabokov’s most selfreflexive and postmodern novel, Pale Fire, the narrator, a jealous academic who is guarding the unfinished novel of a recently deceased colleague, marvels at the human ability to make words—meaning— out of penned marks on paper. These marks are of the same kind which you too read, and by which I, as unseen and unknown to you as you are to me, communicate with you. Nabokov’s narrator wonders about other notational systems that might exist: “Solemnly I weighed in my hand what I was carrying under my left armpit, and for a moment I found myself enriched with an indescribable amazement as if informed that fireflies were making decodable signals on behalf of stranded spirits, or that a bat was writing a legible tale of torture in the bruised and branded sky.” The ability of writing to encapsulate all this in its few permutations of slants, verticals, and ovoids is nothing short of miraculous: an everyday fact the narrator wants to make strange in order to remind us what a miracle it is. Read against Nabokov’s own exile— the novel is set in a college town much like Ithaca, New York, where the Russian native lived for a time after leaving the USSR—it is also important to recognize that those potential tales the narrator imagines for the fireflies and bats are of pain and exile: writing is not only about stories but is itself a vehicle of transference, a way to communicate in absentia. It is also hard not to think of the “blue ink” of writing marveled at in Nabokov when one sees Nina Papaconstantinou’s obsessive, indexical reworkings of major texts in Drawing Time, Reading Time, the exhibition, alongside Marking Language, under discussion here. Both shows dissect the use of text in contemporary visual artworks, drawing a line from conceptual art to the present. In her works comprised of lines and lines of blue ink, Papaconstantinou rewrites the text of E.H. Gombrich’s Shadows, for example, and with each penned sentence makes her own self more apparent and palpable: moving the book, as if pressed through her own body, into illegibility, and allegorizing her own ambition to understand and consume

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it fully. In the end, Gombrich’s analysis of shadows in painting becomes nothing other than marks on a page, a visual splash of ink (and a hint of Yves Klein). Drawing’s connection with the hand returns a sense of the self to language, which, even written, is mostly these days mediated by technology: by computer screens or smartphones, or by the false immateriality of emailed texts. The works on show here question what it is not only to have an “I” behind written language but also to understand the moments when mark-making becomes primary—and the moments when the system of language that organizes marks into meaning begins to dissipate. This spectrum that stretches between writing as a purveyor of linguistic information and writing as marks on a page hovers over many of the works in these two exhibitions. Of the two, The Drawing Center’s has the more historical focus, looking back to conceptual art to discover works that have a more emotional or personal content than is allowed by conventional readings of conceptual work, in which art equals language equals idea. Thus, for instance, Carl Andre’s concrete poetry contests the reading that both his sculpture and his poetry are simply about space: while he often showed his poetry alongside his sculptural works, exploring the white space of the paper in parallel to his sculptures’ exploration of three-dimensional space, Andre’s poems in Drawing Time, Reading Time are elaborate and emotive in a way that his sculptures are not. The Hanging of Roger Casement (1963) concerns the execution of a Northern Irish rebel, and its repeated lines function both as a Minimalist serial strategy and as a nod to Irish patterns of folkloric speech—and, not least, as an affective poetic device. Andre’s writing appears quite clearly here not only “to be looked at” but also to be moved by. Similarly, Mirtha Dermisache, an Argentinian artist active in the 1970s, was part of the movement of avant-garde poetry interested in asemic writing, which attempted to push language towards absolute non-meaning. In her Diarios series, the artist copies out the daily newspaper, turning an organ of information into a rectangular array of shapes and forms, preserving the architecture of the newspaper

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but losing the informational remit. Though we learn nothing from the newspaper about the events it records, we can gauge a lot about Dermisache’s state of mind on the day she does the copying: concentration reflected in small, precise characters; tiredness in lazy loops; enthusiasm in large characters. The beauty of the project comes to the fore in the fluidity and attention that Dermisache brings to this throwaway object of daily consumption as the newspaper becomes a carefully drawn image of itself. For more contemporary artists, particularly in the London show, language systems and performative responses to them are important. Karl Holmqvist’s work contests the rigidity of linguistic norms and rules by undermining the means through which they are expressed. His grid-like poems celebrate the unruly freedom of language, turning “EYES,” for example, into “YES,” or “NO ONE IS ONE” into “ONE IS NO ONE.” Poems comprised of slogans, appropriated snippets of pop songs, and art world references transform slanders and slurs into terms of inclusivity and affirmation. Like Holmqvist’s attempts to subvert the stranglehold of language in order to make for more peaceful and tolerant living conditions, other artists look to writing to create things in the world at large. For Johanne Calle’s RAIN (2012–13), which echoes Concrete poetry, the artist gathered together indigenous Colombian tribal words for “rain” that had never before been written down. Ironizing the import of entering words into an authoritative dictionary, RAIN transliterates the words onto the page and hangs these typed words vertically in the exhibition space, creating the illusion of the falling of rain. Here words move from a visual to a performative mode and back again. In a correspondence with Kate Macfarlane, the curator of Marking Language, Bernardo Ortiz described the experience of going to see a James Ensor engraving at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in terms that recall a similar shift into and out of referentiality: …when I got to MoMA I asked to see a particular engraving by Ensor (Stars at the Cemetery) that was perfect for my project. If you just see it you might think it is an abstract jumble of mezzotint (not very different from the screen on an

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old cathode ray tube TV). But once you read the title you “see” the stars and the cemetery. I liked that off-again, on-again nature of the “image.”1

From this experience, Ortiz developed a performance involving a textual description of the engraving, translating the visual image, square-centimeter by square-centimeter, into a grid-like series of words. A woman reads this text aloud in the audio performance, playing up the obsessiveness that would make an artist attempt such a laborious task. Ortiz’s work here is an example of the exercise of ekphrasis, the verbal description of a visual object, a privileged literary form in the Western cultural tradition. Ekphrasis figures as a utopian bid to overcome the otherness of the other domain, visual or verbal. It also contests the gendering conventionally associated with each regime, where the visual, mute and alluring, is conceived of as female, and the verbal, vocal and persuasive, is conceived of as male.2 Ortiz reverses the direction of ekphrasis for the work he exhibits in Marking Language, where he attempts a “pictorial” translation of the Frank O’Hara poem Why I am Not a Painter, which is similarly about the divide between image and word. In translating the poem into Spanish, his mistakes and lacunae not only visually demonstrate the difficulty of adequately bringing the O’Hara poem into another medium, but also serve to represent Ortiz himself: replacing O’Hara, a poet who epitomizes the New York School, Ortiz becomes the author, struggling in Spanish and in the “wrong” medium, speaking in drawing rather than words. It is a self-portrait, for all its modesty, of a very clever sort. Indeed, the personal stakes in producing work feel strongly present here, buttressed by the knowledge that drawing is an activity that itself takes time as a legible phenomenological gesture. It is easy

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Email from Bernardo Ortiz to Kate Macfarlane, 17 July, 2012. Ekphrasis has become a key mode of thinking about the verbal and visual regimes, particularly in literary theory. See for example W.J.T. Mitchell, Picture Theory (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994), especially Chapter Five, “Ekphrasis and the Other,” 151–181. See also my essay on ekphrasis in a book project by Sarah Pierce: Melissa Gronlund, “A Short History of Ekphrasis and Its Demanding Audience,” in Rike Frank ed., Sketches of Universal History Compiled from Several Authors by Sarah Pierce (London: Book Works and The Showroom, 2012), 30–41.


to imagine how much time a drawing took: a rushed drawing is evidently rushed; a carefully worked drawing shows the hours put into it. The minutes and hours elapsed in drawing are legible in a way that time is not for ready-mades or conceptual works or even for film. Rather than represent a block of time in the way that a novel represents a certain time period, say of ten years or of just a few days, the relationship between drawing and time is more direct. This facet of drawing is evident in a number of works in which the performance of writing appears as a personal, almost autobiographical endeavor. For her I am doing research for my practice (2013), for example, Annabel Daou retraces that titular phrase in chalk on a blackboard. With its references to an antiquated method of schoolroom punishment, the work elevates the unseen, research time of putting together a work into the work itself: the time it takes to retrace the words determines the length of the performance, overturning the relationship between the private realm of production and the public realm of exhibition. Similarly, in Papaconstantinou’s transcriptions of texts in carbon copy ink on paper, time inheres as an almost legible phenomenon: her drawings turn into blocks of deep blue as she writes the lines over and over, the legibility of the text waning as time becomes more apparent. Suffused as Daou’s work is with an air of rituality, the visual appears as something that stifles one’s ability to understand, overtaking the clarity of language and expressing more directly the ambition and even pathos of the artist’s, and writer’s, attempt to create meaning out of setting pen to paper. Sean Landers’s confessional [sic] (1993) suggests the intimacy of the experience of writing: the catharsis and impetus to write, even if no one will read what is written. It is a condition both critiqued and performed by Landers, who hilariously—and movingly—publishes his private confessions under a title that suggests he hasn’t changed a thing from the draft written for himself. Deb Sokolow’s drawn chapters for a book that doesn’t exist signal the inverse of Landers’s [sic]: a work that trades reading for writing, and the temporal axis of conventional reading for the instant apprehension of drawing and image. The fact that both drawing and reading are such personal, private activities—privacy being key to the art on view here—also makes

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them tricky to display in a gallery, where they challenge audience expectations. Text on a wall takes words out of a domain of reading that we control: sitting in a chair, book in hand, no one watching or judging the moment of aesthetic contemplation, pages moving or not moving at our own pace. Reading a poem in a public setting forces us to reveal how much time we need to understand what a poem is doing, or to walk away with the acrid dissatisfaction of having only seen a poem that we have not had a chance to read. The converse dissatisfaction, of course, comes from going to a gallery hoping to see some visual verve and merely getting some texts on a wall. Both these exhibitions strive to avoid this common feeling, whether by focusing on the expressive or the affective dimensions of drawing language. But different patterns of audience behavior are also at play: many of the works on show here can be seen as reacting to the dominance of digitization by defending the hand-executed and the unique, but their encounter with a public will never only be in person. Inevitably, and already, these works appear on the Internet, in jpegs on blogs, reproduced in reviews and essays, and in books such as the one you have in your hands. Additionally, few people will see both shows (I have not yet seen either). If writing acts as a stand-in for an absent self, these images of the originals are proliferating faster than we can imagine: such is the immense power of social networks. Though I’ve written this essay in absentia, and though I wish I could see all these works together—the grain of their paper or the cheapness of their Xeroxes, the force with which ink was pushed to flow—their remove forces the writing about them to be about a performance itself of remote communication and exploration, sifting through jpegs like a housebound detective. The works on show here make clear that the gap between artist and audience is not a liability to be overcome but a tool to be exploited, a means of examining how to communicate with others as well as with the authorial self. Indeed, as the ways of seeing work multiply, artists will need to be aware of how their work transmutes from context to context. The works here cut both ways: drawing by hand draws us back to the artist, while writing keeps its options open.

28


PL . 1

Carl Andre, war imp men men men men sod men eve men way man law, 1963


Carl Andre

31


PL . 2

Carl Andre, words men word court proofs years hair men cell, 1962


PL . 3

Carl Andre, wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccc, 1962


PL . 4

Carl Andre, arc

bin bur

cam, 1962


PL . 5

Carl Andre, Untitled, 1963


PL . 6

Carl Andre, Gazetteer, 1962


PL . 7

Carl Andre, THE HANGING OF ROGER CASEMENT

, 1965


PL . 8

Carl Andre, THE HANGING OF ROGER CASEMENT

, 1965


PL . 9

Carl Andre, THE HANGING OF JOHN BROWN

, April 1st, 1965


PL . 10

Carl Andre, THE HANGING OF JOHN BROWN

, April 1st, 1965


PL . 11

Carl Andre, DEPARTUREFROMLABPHAKSUGARRANCHOHACIENDA (Yucatan), 1972


PL . 12

Carl Andre, POLITIC (Yucatan), 1972


PL . 13

Carl Andre, PLAN (Yucatan), 1972


PL . 14

Carl Andre, SUNDAYMASSGRANDPROCESSIONINTOXICATEDINDIANSMAXCANUCARICOCHESSCENERYARRIVALCAVE (Yucatan), 1972


PL . 15

Mirtha Dermisache, Livre s/n, 1978


Mirtha Dermisache

47


PL . 16

Mirtha Dermisache, Diez Cartas, 1970 (Letter 4)


PL . 17

Mirtha Dermisache, Diez Cartas, 1970 (Letter 5)


PL . 18

Mirtha Dermisache, Diez Cartas, 1970 (Letter 7)


PL . 19

Mirtha Dermisache, Livre 2, 1969


PL . 20

Mirtha Dermisache, Livre 3, 1970


PL . 21

Mirtha Dermisache, Untitled, 1970


PL . 22

Mirtha Dermisache, Diario N° Aùo 1, 1972


PL . 23

Mirtha Dermisache, Diario N° Aùo 1, 1972


PL . 24

Mirtha Dermisache, Diario N° Aùo 1, 1972


PL . 25

Mirtha Dermisache, Diario N° Aùo 1, 1972


PL . 26

Allen Ruppersberg, Untitled (The Book as Object), 1976


Allen Ruppersberg


PL . 27

Allen Ruppersberg, A Good Drawing (Of a Book at Sunrise), 1975


PL . 28

Allen Ruppersberg, The Gift and the Inheritance (Les fleurs du mal), 1989


PL . 29

Allen Ruppersberg, The Gift and the Inheritance (One Man Show), 1989


PL . 30

Allen Ruppersberg, The Gift and the Inheritance (Why not Draw), 1989


PL . 31

Allen Ruppersberg, The Gift and the Inheritance (Psychopaths), 1989


PL . 32

Allen Ruppersberg, The Gift and the Inheritance (Book of Legendary Spells), 1989


PL . 33

Allen Ruppersberg, Palms. But no Sea., 1977


PL . 34

Allen Ruppersberg, Reading Time (The Elements of Style), 1973–74


PL . 35

Guy De Cointet, Do I See Right?, 1983


Guy De Cointet

69


PL . 36

Guy De Cointet, I Can’t Wait…, c. 1982


PL . 37

Guy de Cointet, You Don’t Know the Russians, 1983


PL . 38

Guy De Cointet, We Must not Think that Cold..., 1982


PL . 39

Guy De Cointet, Rough Sea of Japan, 1976


PL . 40

Guy De Cointet, How High Can You Count?, 1972


PL . 41

Sean Landers, [sic], 1993


Sean Landers

77


PL . 42

Sean Landers, [sic], 1993


PL . 43

Sean Landers, [sic], 1993


Molly Springfield

81


PL . 44

Molly Springfield, Untitled (The World is Full of Objects), 2007


PL . 45

Molly Springfield, Untitled (The World is Full of Objects), 2007


PL . 46

Molly Springfield, Daily Schedules (The World is Full of Objects), 2007


PL . 47

Molly Springfield, Illustrations (The World is Full of Objects), 2007


PL . 48

Molly Springfield, A Translation (The World is Full of Objects), 2007


PL . 49

Molly Springfield, Index (The World is Full of Objects), 2007


PL . 50

Nina Papaconstantinou, Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber, 2011


Nina Papaconstantinou

89


PL . 51

Nina Papaconstantinou, Pericles’ Epitaph, 2011


PL . 52

Nina Papaconstantinou, Heiner M端ller, Philoctetes, 2013


PL . 53

Nina Papaconstantinou, Ezra Pound, Drafts and Fragments: Cantos CX–CXX, 2013


PL . 54

Nina Papaconstantinou, Federico GarcĂ­a Lorca, Yerma, 2013


Deb Sokolow

95


PL . 55

Deb Sokolow, Chapter 13. Oswald and Your Cousin Irving, 2013


PL . 56

Deb Sokolow, Chapter 13. Oswald and Your Cousin Irving, 2013


PL . 57

Deb Sokolow, Chapter 13. Oswald and Your Cousin Irving, 2013


LIST OF WORKS

PL. 3

Carl Andre PL. 1

wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww-

Carl Andre

wwccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccc, 1962

war imp men men men men sod men eve

Photocopy on typewriter paper

men way man law, 1963

11 x 8 1/2 inches (27.9 x 21.6 cm)

Photocopy on typewriter paper

Courtesy of the artist and

11 x 8 1/2 inches (27.9 x 21.6 cm)

Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

Courtesy of the artist and

Art © Carl Andre/Licensed by VAGA,

Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

New York, NY

Art © Carl Andre/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

PL. 4

Carl Andre PL. 2

arc bin bur cam, 1962

Carl Andre

Photocopy on typewriter paper

words men word court proofs years hair men cell,

10 3/4 x 8 inches (27.3 x 20.3 cm)

1962

Courtesy of the artist and

Typed carbon transfer on paper

Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

11 x 8 1/2 inches (27.9 x 21.6 cm)

Art © Carl Andre/Licensed by VAGA,

The Judith Rothschild Foundation

New York, NY

Contemporary Drawings Collection Gift (purchase, and gift, in part, of

PL. 5

The Eileen and Michael Cohen Collection), 2005

Carl Andre

The Museum of Modern Art,

Untitled, 1963

New York, NY, U.S.A.

Typed carbon transfer on paper

Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/

10 7/8 x 8 1/2 inches (27.6 x 21.6 cm).

Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, NY

The Judith Rothschild Foundation

Art © Carl Andre/Licensed by VAGA,

Contemporary Drawings Collection Gift

New York, NY

(purchase, and gift, in part, of The Eileen and Michael Cohen Collection), 2005 The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, U.S.A. Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/ Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, NY Art © Carl Andre/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

100


PL. 6

PL. 9

Carl Andre

Carl Andre

Gazetteer, 1962

THE HANGING OF JOHN

Typed carbon transfer on paper

BROWN

10 7/8 x 7 7/8 inches (27.6 x 20 cm)

1 of 2 typed carbon transfers on paper

Collection of Jean-Edouard Van Praet

10 7/8 x 8 3/8 inches (27.6 x 21.3 cm)

Image courtesy of Dominique Lévy, New York

Courtesy of the artist and

Art © Carl Andre/Licensed by VAGA,

Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

New York, NY

Art © Carl Andre/Licensed by VAGA,

, April 1st, 1965

New York, NY PL. 7

Carl Andre

PL. 10

THE HANGING OF ROGER

Carl Andre

CASEMENT

THE HANGING OF JOHN

, 1965

1 of 2 typed carbon transfers on paper

BROWN

10 7/8 x 8 3/8 inches (27.6 x 21.3 cm)

2 of 2 typed carbon transfers on paper

Courtesy of the artist and

10 7/8 x 8 3/8 inches (27.6 x 21.3 cm)

Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

Courtesy of the artist and

Art © Carl Andre/Licensed by VAGA,

Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

New York, NY

Art © Carl Andre/Licensed by VAGA,

, April 1st, 1965

New York, NY PL. 8

Carl Andre

PL. 11

THE HANGING OF ROGER

Carl Andre

CASEMENT

DEPARTUREFROMLABPHAKSU-

, 1965

2 of 2 typed carbon transfers on paper

GARRANCHOHACIENDA (Yucatan), 1972

10 7/8 x 8 3/8 inches (27.6 x 21.3 cm)

1 from a set of 26

Courtesy of the artist and

Photocopy on typewriter paper

Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

11 x 8 1/2 inches (27.9 x 21.5 cm)

Art © Carl Andre/Licensed by VAGA,

Courtesy of the artist and

New York, NY

Paula Cooper Gallery, New York Art © Carl Andre/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

101


PL. 12

PL. 15

Carl Andre

Mirtha Dermisache

POLITIC (Yucatan), 1972

Livre s/n, 1978

1 from a set of 26

Bound book, ink on paper

Photocopy on typewriter paper

12 7/8 x 10 inches (32.7 x 25.4 cm)

11 x 8 1/2 inches (27.9 x 21.5 cm)

Courtesy of Henrique Faria Fine Art, New York

Courtesy of the artist and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

PL. 16

Art © Carl Andre/Licensed by VAGA,

Mirtha Dermisache

New York, NY

Diez Cartas, 1970 (Letter 4) Ink on paper

PL. 13

11 x 9 inches (27.9 x 22.9 cm)

Carl Andre

Courtesy of Henrique Faria Fine Art, New York

PLAN (Yucatan), 1972 1 from a set of 26

PL. 17

Photocopy on typewriter paper

Mirtha Dermisache

11 x 8 1/2 inches (27.9 x 21.5 cm)

Diez Cartas, 1970 (Letter 5)

Courtesy of the artist and

Ink on paper

Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

11 x 9 inches (27.9 x 22.9 cm)

Art © Carl Andre/Licensed by VAGA,

Courtesy of Henrique Faria Fine Art, New York

New York, NY PL. 18 PL. 14

Mirtha Dermisache

Carl Andre

Diez Cartas, 1970 (Letter 7)

SUNDAYMASSGRANDPROCESSION-

Ink on paper

INTOXICATEDINDIANSMAXCANU-

11 x 9 inches (27.9 x 22.9 cm)

CARICOCHESSCENERYARRIVALCAVE

Courtesy of Henrique Faria Fine Art, New York

(Yucatan), 1972 1 from a set of 26

PL. 19

Photocopy on typewriter paper

Mirtha Dermisache

11 x 8 1/2 inches (27.9 x 21.5 cm)

Livre 2, 1969

Courtesy of the artist and

Bound book, ink on paper

Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

12 3/4 x 10 inches (32.4 x 25.4 cm)

Art © Carl Andre/Licensed by VAGA,

Private Collection

New York, NY

Courtesy of Henrique Faria Fine Art, New York

102


PL. 20

PL. 27

Mirtha Dermisache

Allen Ruppersberg

Livre 3, 1970

A Good Drawing (Of a Book at Sunrise), 1975

Bound book, ink on paper

Pencil on paper

12 7/8 x 10 inches (32.7 x 25.4 cm)

23 1/16 x 29 inches (58.5 x 73.6 cm)

Private Collection

Courtesy of Susan Matheson

Courtesy of Henrique Faria Fine Art, New York

Image courtesy of the artist and Greene Naftali, New York

PL. 21

Mirtha Dermisache

PL. 28

Untitled, 1970

Allen Ruppersberg

Bound book, ink on paper

The Gift and the Inheritance (Les fleurs du mal),

11 1/4 x 9 1/4 inches (28.6 x 23.5 cm)

1989

Courtesy of Henrique Faria Fine Art, New York

Pencil on paper 23 3/16 x 26 1/4 inches (58.8 x 66.7 cm)

PLS . 22–25

Collection of Christine Burgin

Mirtha Dermisache

and William Wegman

Diario N° Año 1, 1972

Image courtesy of the artist

Page 1: offset print on paper (1995)

and Greene Naftali, New York

Pages 2–8: ink on paper (Pages 1, 2, 7 and 8 pictured)

PL. 29

18 5/8 x 14 3/8 inches (47.5 x 36.5 cm)

Allen Ruppersberg

Courtesy of Henrique Faria Fine Art, New York

The Gift and the Inheritance (One Man Show), 1989

PL. 26

Pencil on paper

Allen Ruppersberg

22 5/8 x 28 9/16 inches (57.5 x 72.5 cm)

Untitled (The Book as Object), 1976

Collection of Allan McCollum, New York

Pencil on paper

Image courtesy of the artist

21 1/4 x 27 3/16 inches (54 x 69 cm)

and Greene Naftali, New York

Collection of C. Christine Nichols Image courtesy of the artist

PL. 30

and Greene Naftali, New York

Allen Ruppersberg The Gift and the Inheritance (Why not Draw), 1989 Pencil on paper 22 x 27.5 inches (55.9 x 69.9 cm) Collection of A.G. Rosen Image courtesy of Christine Burgin Gallery, New York

103


PL. 31

PL. 35

Allen Ruppersberg

Guy De Cointet

The Gift and the Inheritance (Psychopaths), 1989

Do I See Right?, 1983

Pencil on paper

Ink and pencil on Arches paper

22 5/8 x 28 15/16 inches (57.5 x 73.5 cm)

19 7/16 x 25 1/16 inches (49.4 x 63.7 cm)

Collection of Dr. Georgia Hope Witkin

Courtesy of Greene Naftali, New York

Image courtesy of the artist

© Estate of Guy de Cointet/Air de Paris, Paris

and Greene Naftali, New York PL. 36 PL. 32

Guy De Cointet

Allen Ruppersberg

I Can’t Wait…, c. 1982

The Gift and the Inheritance

Ink and pencil on paper

(Book of Legendary Spells), 1989

21 x 14 3/4 inches (53.3 x 37.5 cm)

Pencil on paper

Committee on Drawings Funds, 2009.

21 5/16 x 27 9/16 inches (54 x 70 cm)

May have restrictions.

Courtesy of Beth Rudin DeWoody

The Museum of Modern Art,

Image courtesy of the artist

New York, NY, U.S.A.

and Greene Naftali, New York

Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/ Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, NY

PL. 33

© Estate of Guy de Cointet / Air de Paris, Paris

Allen Ruppersberg

and Greene Naftali, New York

Palms. But no Sea., 1977 Pencil on paper

PL. 37

23 x 29 inches (58.4 x 73.7 cm)

Guy de Cointet

Courtesy of Texas Gallery, Houston

You Don’t Know the Russians, 1983

Image courtesy of Christine Burgin Gallery,

Ink and pencil on Arches paper

New York

19 3/4 x 25 1/2 inches (50.2 x 64.8 cm) Private collection, Katmandu

PL. 34

Allen Ruppersberg Reading Time (The Elements of Style), 1973–74 Pencil on paper 22 5/8 x 28 9/16 inches (57.5 x 72.5 cm) Collection of Claire Copley Eisenberg Image courtesy of Christine Burgin Gallery, New York

104

Image courtesy of Greene Naftali, New York


PL. 38

PLS . 41–43

Guy De Cointet

Sean Landers

We Must not Think that Cold..., 1982

[sic], 1993

Ink and pencil on paper

Ink on paper

20 x 25 5/8 inches (50.8 x 65.1cm).

Dimensions vary with installation

Committee on Drawings Funds, 2009.

451 leaves, 11 x 8 1/2 inches each

May have restrictions.

Courtesy of the artist and

The Museum of Modern Art,

Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York

New York, NY, U.S.A.

Detail photos by Jason Mandella;

Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/

gallery installation photo by Jean Paul Torno

Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, NY

© Sean Landers

© Estate of Guy de Cointet / Air de Paris, Paris and Greene Naftali, New York

PL. 44

Molly Springfield PL. 39

Untitled (The World is Full of Objects), 2007

Guy De Cointet

Pencil on paper

Rough Sea of Japan, 1976

11 x 8 1/2 inches (28 x 21.6 cm)

Ink and pencil on Paxton Bond paper

Courtesy of Sean and Teresa Connell

19 x 24 inches (48 x 61 cm)

Image courtesy of the artist

Collection of James Keith Brown and Eric Diefenbach

PL. 45

Image courtesy of Greene Naftali, New York

Molly Springfield

© Estate of Guy de Cointet/Air de Paris, Paris

Untitled (The World is Full of Objects), 2007 Pencil on paper

PL. 40

11 x 8 1/2 inches (28 x 21.6 cm)

Guy De Cointet

Courtesy of Sean and Teresa Connell

How High Can You Count?, 1972

Image courtesy of the artist

Ink and pencil on paper 19 x 24 inches (48 x 60.5 cm)

PL. 46

Courtesy of Beth Rudin DeWoody

Molly Springfield

Image courtesy of Greene Naftali, New York

Daily Schedules (The World is Full of Objects), 2007

© Estate of Guy de Cointet/Air de Paris, Paris

Pencil on paper 11 x 17 inches (27.9 x 43.2 cm) Private Collection Image courtesy of the artist

105


PL. 47

PL. 52

Molly Springfield

Nina Papaconstantinou

Illustrations (The World is Full of Objects), 2007

Heiner Müller, Philoctetes, 2013

Pencil on paper

Carbon copy on paper

11 x 17 inches (28 x 43.2 cm)

15 x 11 2/5 inches (38.5 x 29 cm)

Collection of Eve Sinaiko

Courtesy of the artist and Kalfayan Galleries,

Image courtesy of the artist

Athens – Thessaloniki

PL. 48

PL. 53

Molly Springfield

Nina Papaconstantinou

A Translation (The World is Full of Objects), 2007

Ezra Pound, Drafts and Fragments:

Pencil on paper

Cantos CX–CXX, 2013

11 x 17 inches (28 x 43.2 cm)

Carbon copy on paper

Private Collection, New York

15 x 11 2/5 inches (38.5 x 29 cm)

Image courtesy of the artist

Courtesy of the artist and Kalfayan Galleries, Athens – Thessaloniki

PL. 49

Molly Springfield

PL. 54

Index (The World is Full of Objects), 2007

Nina Papaconstantinou

Pencil on Paper

Federico García Lorca, Yerma, 2013

11 x 17 inches (28 x 43.2 cm)

Carbon copy on paper

Private Collection, New York

15 x 11 2/5 inches (38.5 x 29 cm)

Image courtesy of the artist

Courtesy of the artist and Kalfayan Galleries, Athens – Thessaloniki

PL. 50

Nina Papaconstantinou

PLS . 55–57

Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber, 2011

Deb Sokolow

Carbon copy on paper

Chapter 13. Oswald and Your Cousin Irving, 2013

15 x 11 2/5 inches (38.5 x 29 cm)

Acrylic, pencil, charcoal, tape, collage on paper

Courtesy of the artist and Kalfayan Galleries,

mounted to three panels

Athens – Thessaloniki

Two 30 x 22 x 1 inch panels (76.2 x 55.8 x 2.54 cm)

PL. 51

One 6 x 22 x 1 inch panel (15.2 x 55.8 x 2.54 cm)

Nina Papaconstantinou

Courtesy of the artist and

Pericles’ Epitaph, 2011

Western Exhibitions, Chicago

Carbon copy on paper 15 x 11 2/5 inches (38.5 x 29 cm) Courtesy of the artist and Kalfayan Galleries, Athens – Thessaloniki

106


PLS . 58–61

RUINSOFACCOUNTIRRETRIEXTRAOR-

Pavel Büchler

DOORWAYCHAMBERGIGANTIDEATHSH-

Conversational Drawings 1 (1-1, 1-2, 1-11, 1-14),

HUMANFICOLOSS – YUCATAN (Yucatan),

2007

1972

From a series of 14 ‘Tractor-feed’ carbonless copy paper

SEARCH JOURNEYRUINEDLOSE THSET

11 x 8 1/2 inches (28 x 21.5 cm)

RIGARRIVALTHE CASUISIT FHIS

Courtesy of the artist and

CHAVISIT T

Max Wigram Gallery, London

(Yucatan), 1972 DEPARTUOUTRANCHOOFCHACK-

NOT PICTURED

FRIGRANCCASASCARCVISITFROMTHEALCALDEPRIMITIVEMODEOFOB (Yucatan),

Carl Andre

1972

DEPARTUREFROMLABPHAKSUGARRANCHOSHACIENDA (Yucatan), 1972

ANARCOTHERBURICHLYORNAMENTEDDOORWAYCOUORNAMENTSINS-

JOURAFO (Yucatan), 1972

TUCCOLARGEBUILDINGMAGNIF (Yucatan), 1972

DEPAR TEK (Yucatan), 1972 DEPARTUOUTFITRANCHOOFRIGHTEMBARCAAGALEATORNITHOMERIDA

ORANCHOOCASAREASCARCITUISITFR-

THELOTTPRINCIPADEFORM (Yucatan), 1972

PRIMITIAPECULI (Yucatan), 1972

ANOLDFREARLYVOCOLUMBO-

VISITTOACK TIONOFTNEST

EXPEDITEXPEDITDISCOVE-

SQUEVIEWELLOFCTSPASSACHODEPA

EFFORTSCONTRER (Yucatan), 1972

(Yucatan), 1972

HOUSEKEABULLFIBRUTALTSERIOUSAN-

DEPAROUTFIRANCHFRIGHRANCH-

EXCITDANGERAEFFECTSGRANDMA-

CASARSCARCVISITPRIMIAPECU (Yucatan),

THEALAMFETEOFT (Yucatan), 1972

1972

RETURNFINALDANINDIROUTEOLDWAS-

AAAAAAAAAAJJJJJJJCCCCCCCCCHHHHH-

RUINSOPAUEDRJOURNERUINSO-

HHHOOMMMMMMMMAAIIIIIIDDDDD-

IMPOSIOLDWALRUINSO (Yucatan), 1972

WWWWWWWWAA (Yucatan), 1972

PLANANEDIDOOAPARCIRCUMYSTES-

DEPARTUREFROMMERIDAMAPOFYUCA-

LULPTMAJESTIHIERRICHDOORWRE-

TANTIMUCUITEKOHHUMANSKULLSAND-

MAITHEEGORNAMCARTO (Yucatan), 1972

BONESCHURCHOF (Yucatan), 1972

107


DAGUERR SETUPAS

PREPARA ACHAPTE

SUCCESS CHURCHOF (Yucatan), 1972

Carl Andre GAZETTEER, 1964 Photocopy on typewriter paper

FRIG (Yucatan), 1972

11 x 8 1/2 inches (27.9 x 21.6 cm) Courtesy of the artist and

DEPARTU OUT RANCHO OF

Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

CHACK FRIG RANCHCASA SCARC

Art © Carl Andre/Licensed by VAGA,

VISITFROMTHEALOALDE – YUCATAN

New York, NY

(Yucatan), 1972 Deb Sokolow JJJJJJJJJJJJJJEEEEEEEEERRRRRSSSSS-

Chapter 14. Mary Pinchot Meyer, 2013

RRRRRSSSSSSSSSSMMMMMMMMMMMM-

Acrylic, pencil, charcoal, tape, collage on

MMMVVVVVVVBBBBB (Yucatan), 1972

paper mounted to four panels Two 30 x 22 x 1 inch panels

PERPLEXITIESHOUSEHOLDWANT-

(76.2 x 55.8 x 2.54 cm)

SINDIANMODEOFBOILINGEGGSCLEAR-

Two 6 x 22 x 1 inch panels

INGSAVALUABLE (Yucatan), 1972

(15.2 x 55.8 x 2.54 cm) Courtesy of the artist and

All Yucatan works listed above:

Western Exhibitions, Chicago

From a set of 26 Photocopy on typewriter paper

Nina Papaconstantinou

11 x 8 1/2 inches (27.9 x 21.5 cm)

Conversations in Courtship, Anonymous

Courtesy of the artist and

(Egypt 1200–1169 BC), 2013

Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

Carbon copy on paper

Art © Carl Andre/Licensed by VAGA,

15 x 11 2/5 inches (38.5 x 29 cm)

New York, NY

Courtesy of the artist and Kalfayan Galleries, Athens – Thessaloniki

Carl Andre Q U E E N S B R I D E Q U E E N S B R I D,

Nina Papaconstantinou

1962

S. T. Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,

Photocopy on typewriter paper

2011

11 x 8 inches (27.9 x 20.3 cm)

Carbon copy on paper

Courtesy of the artist and

15 x 11 2/5 inches (38.5 x 29 cm)

Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

Courtesy of the artist and Kalfayan Galleries,

Art © Carl Andre/Licensed by VAGA,

Athens – Thessaloniki

New York, NY

108


Nina Papaconstantinou

Nina Papaconstantinou

Edgar Allan Poe, The Purloined Letter, 2011

John Berger, Ways of Seeing, 2011

Carbon copy on paper

Carbon copy on paper

15 x 11 2/5 inches (38.5 x 29 cm)

15 x 11 2/5 inches (38.5 x 29 cm)

Courtesy of the artist and Kalfayan Galleries,

Courtesy of the artist and Kalfayan Galleries,

Athens – Thessaloniki

Athens – Thessaloniki

Nina Papaconstantinou

Nina Papaconstantinou

E.H. Gombrich, Shadows, 2004

Kostis Palamas, The Grave, 2011

Carbon copy on paper

Carbon copy on paper

15 x 11 2/5 inches (38.5 x 29 cm)

15 x 11 2/5 inches (38.5 x 29 cm)

Courtesy of the artist and Kalfayan Galleries,

Courtesy of the artist and Kalfayan Galleries,

Athens – Thessaloniki

Athens – Thessaloniki

Nina Papaconstantinou

Nina Papaconstantinou

Arthur Rimbaud, A Poem and Five Letters, 2013

Nikolai Gogol, Diary of a Madman, 2011

Carbon copy on paper

Carbon copy on paper

15 x 11 2/5 inches (38.5 x 29 cm)

15 x 11 2/5 inches (38.5 x 29 cm)

Courtesy of the artist and Kalfayan Galleries,

Courtesy of the artist and Kalfayan Galleries,

Athens – Thessaloniki

Athens – Thessaloniki

Nina Papaconstantinou

Nina Papaconstantinou

Giorgos Cheimonas, Peisistratus, 2011

Omar Khayyam, Rubaiyat, 2011

Carbon copy on paper

Carbon copy on paper

15 x 11 2/5 inches (38.5 x 29 cm)

15 x 11 2/5 inches (38.5 x 29 cm)

Courtesy of the artist and Kalfayan Galleries,

Courtesy of the artist and Kalfayan Galleries,

Athens – Thessaloniki

Athens – Thessaloniki

Nina Papaconstantinou

Nina Papaconstantinou

Miltos Sachtouris, Colour Wounds, 2011

Paul Klee, On Modern Art, 2011

Carbon copy on paper

Carbon copy on paper

15 x 11 2/5 inches (38.5 x 29 cm)

15 x 11 2/5 inches (38.5 x 29 cm)

Courtesy of the artist and Kalfayan Galleries,

Courtesy of the artist and Kalfayan Galleries,

Athens – Thessaloniki

Athens – Thessaloniki

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Nina Papaconstantinou Sappho, Od. Elytis, A Reference to Andreas Embiricos, 2004 Carbon copy on paper 15 x 11 2/5 inches (38.5 x 29 cm) Courtesy of the artist and Kalfayan Galleries, Athens – Thessaloniki Nina Papaconstantinou Théophile Gautier, The Dead Leman, 2004 Carbon copy on paper 15 x 11 2/5 inches (38.5 x 29 cm) Courtesy of the artist and Kalfayan Galleries, Athens – Thessaloniki Nina Papaconstantinou Virginia Woolf, A Letter to a Young Poet, 2011 Carbon copy on paper 15 x 11 2/5 inches (38.5 x 29 cm) Courtesy of the artist and Kalfayan Galleries, Athens – Thessaloniki

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CONTRIBUTORS

Claire Gilman is Curator at The Drawing Center. Melissa Gronlund is an editor of Afterall and a writer on contemporary art based in London. She has written catalogue essays for artists including Karl Holmqvist, Daria Martin, and Laure Prouvost, and frequently contributes to different publications, including Afterall, Cabinet, Dot Dot Dot, Flash Art, frieze, and MIRAJ. She teaches on the Moving Image Master’s course at Central Saint Martins and is a visiting tutor at the Ruskin School of Drawing & Fine Art, University of Oxford, where she lectures on art and film history. In 2009 and 2010 assisted with the programming of the Experimenta section of the London Film Festival.


BOARD OF DIRECTORS

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Co-Chairs

Drawing Time, Reading Time is made possible by

Frances Beatty Adler

the very generous support of Sarah Peter, Agnes

Eric Rudin

Gund, anonymous, HRH Princess Firyal of

Jane Dresner Sadaka

Jordan, Kathleen Irvin Loughlin, Frank Williams, Karen Zukowski and David Diamond, Irene

Treasurer

Panagopoulos, Gil Shiva, The Felix & Elizabeth

Stacey Goergen

Rohatyn Foundation, Amanda Foreman and Jonathan Barton, and Morris A. Orden.

Secretary Dita Amory

The accompanying catalogue is made possible by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia.

Brad Cloepfil Anita F. Contini Steven Holl Rhiannon Kubicka David Lang Merrill Mahan Iris Z. Marden Nancy Poses Pat Steir Barbara Toll Isabel Stainow Wilcox Candace Worth Emeritus Melva Bucksbaum Frances Dittmer Bruce W. Ferguson Michael Lynne George Negroponte Elizabeth Rohatyn Jeanne C. Thayer Executive Director Brett Littman


E D WA R D H A L L A M T U C K P U B L I C AT I O N P R O G R A M

This is number 108 of the Drawing Papers, a series of publications documenting The Drawing Center’s exhibitions and public programs and providing a forum for the study of drawing. This special edition of the series is co-published by The Drawing Center, New York, and Drawing Room, London. Jonathan T.D. Neil Executive Editor Joanna Ahlberg Managing Editor Designed by Peter J. Ahlberg / AHL&CO This book is set in Adobe Garamond Pro and Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk.

I S B N 9 7 8 - 0 - 9 4 2 3 24 -7 8 - 5 Š 2 013 T he D rawing C enter


T H E D R AW I N G PA P E R S S E R I E S A L S O I N C L U D E S

Drawing Papers 107 Alexis Rockman: Drawings from Life of Pi Drawing Papers 106 Susan Hefuna and Luca Veggetti: NOTATIONOTATIONS Drawing Papers 105 Ken Price: Slow and Steady Wins the Race, Works on Paper 1962–2010 Drawing Papers 104 Giosetta Fioroni: L’Argento Drawing Papers 103 Igancio Uriarte: Line of Work Drawing Papers 102 Alexandre Singh: The Pledge Drawing Papers 101 José Antonio Suárez Londoño: The Yearbooks Drawing Papers 100 Guillermo Kuitca: Diarios Drawing Papers 99 Sean Scully: Change and Horizontals Drawing Papers 98 Drawing and its Double: Selections from the Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica Drawing Papers 97 Dr. Lakra Drawing Papers 96 Drawn from Photography Drawing Papers 95 Day Job Drawing Papers 94 Paul Rudolph: Lower Manhattan Expressway Drawing Papers 93 Claudia Wieser: Poems of the Right Angle Drawing Papers 92 Gerhard Richter: “Lines which do not exist” Drawing Papers 91 Dorothea Tanning: Early Designs for the Stage Drawing Papers 90 Leon Golub: Live & Die Like a Lion? Drawing Papers 89 Selections Spring 2010: Sea Marks Drawing Papers 88 Iannis Xenakis: Composer, Architect, Visionary Drawing Papers 87 Ree Morton: At the Still Point of the Turning World Drawing Papers 86 Unica Zurn: Dark Spring Drawing Papers 85 Sun Xun: Shock of Time Drawing Papers 84 Selections Spring 2009: Apparently Invisible Drawing Papers 83 M/M: Just Like an Ant Walking on the Edge of the Visible Drawing Papers 82 Matt Mullican: A Drawing Translates the Way of Thinking Drawing Papers 81 Greta Magnusson Grossman: Furniture and Lighting Drawing Papers 80 Kathleen Henderson: What if I Could Draw a Bird that Could Change the World? Drawing Papers 79 Rirkrit Tiravanija: Demonstration Drawings

T O O R D E R , A N D F O R A C O M P L E T E C ATA L O G U E O F PA S T E D I T I O N S , V I S I T D R AW I N G C E N T E R . O R G


THE D R AWI N G CENTER

3 5 W O O S T E R S T R E E T | N E W YO R K , N Y 10 013 T 212 219 216 6 | F 212 9 6 6 2 9 76 | D R AW I N G C E N T E R . O R G


PL. 58

Pavel B端chler, Conversational Drawings 1 (1-1), 2007


Pavel B端chler


PL. 59

Pavel B端chler, Conversational Drawings 1 (1-2), 2007


PL. 60

Pavel B端chler, Conversational Drawings 1 (1-11), 2007


PL. 61

Pavel B端chler, Conversational Drawings 1 (1-14), 2007


Conversational Drawings 1 (1-13), 2007


Conversational Drawings 1 (1-12), 2007


Conversational Drawings 1 (1-10), 2007


Conversational Drawings 1 (1-9), 2007


Conversational Drawings 1 (1-8), 2007


Conversational Drawings 1 (1-7), 2007


Conversational Drawings 1 (1-6), 2007


Conversational Drawings 1 (1-5), 2007


Conversational Drawings 1 (1-4), 2007


Conversational Drawings 1 (1-3), 2007


Pavel Büchler

WOR K S I N E X H I BI T ION Conversational Drawings 1 (1-3, 1-4, 1-5 1-6, 1-7, 1-8, 1-9, 1-10, 1-12, 1-13), 2007 From a series of 14 ‘Tractor-feed’ carbonless copy paper 21.5 x 28 cm (11 x 8 1/2 inches) Courtesy of the artist

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12 Rich Estate Crimscott Street London SE1 5TE U.K. 44 (0)207 394 5657 www.drawingroom.org.uk


DR AW I NG RO OM A DV ISORY BOA R D Marie Elena Angulo David Austen Andrew Bick Ken Hawkins Peter Jenkinson OBE Sigrid Kirk Cornelia Parker OBE Andrew Renton Peter St John Karsten Schubert Jeni Walwin Grant Watson

Co-published in 2013 by Drawing Room, London and The Drawing Center, New York on the occasion of the exhibition Marking Language 10 October – 14 December 2013 Drawing Room Tannery Arts 12 Rich Estate Crimscott Street London SE1 5TE United Kingdom www.drawingroom.org.uk Distributed in the UK and Europe by Cornerhouse 70 Oxford Street Manchester M1 5NH United Kingdom www.cornerhouse.org Text © the authors For the book in this form © Drawing Room & The Drawing Center All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any other information storage or retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publishers. British Library Cataloguing-inPublication Data A full catalogue record of this book is available from the British Library


C ON T R I BU TOR S Kate Macfarlane is Co-Director of Drawing Room. Melissa Gronlund is an editor of Afterall and a writer on contemporary art based in London. She has written catalogue essays for artists including Karl Holmqvist, Daria Martin, and Laure Prouvost, and frequently contributes to different publications, including Afterall, Cabinet, Dot Dot Dot, Flash Art, frieze, and MIRAJ. She teaches on the Moving Image Master’s course at Central Saint Martins and is a visiting tutor at the Ruskin School of Drawing & Fine Art, University of Oxford, where she lectures on art and film history. In 2009 and 2010, she assisted with the programming of the Experimenta section of the London Film Festival.

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ACK NOW L E D GM E N T S Marking Language has had a long gestation period, and it was a conversation with Claire Gilman that triggered a conclusion to Drawing Room’s protracted consideration of drawing and writing in contemporary practice. It has been a pleasure to work with Claire and her colleagues at The Drawing Center to develop ideas for the parallel exhibitions, and we look forward to opportunities to collaborate in the future. Katharine Stout, Drawing Room’s associate director, worked closely with me to develop ideas for Marking Language, while Mary Doyle, co-director, and other individuals, in particular Jessica Baggaley, have assisted with research. Drawing Room thanks first and foremost the seven artists who participate in Marking Language. All have responded positively to the thesis of the exhibition with Johanna Calle, Annabel Daou, Karl Holmqvist, Bernardo Ortiz, and Shahzia Sikander making new and ambitious works in response. The exhibition and seminar brings these artists together, providing opportunities for dialogue and for the cross-fertilisation of ideas for the future development of their work. We thank the lenders to the exhibition who include the Danjuma Collection and the Alegre Sarfaty Collection, New York/London/Sao Paulo. We have received considerable assistance from the artists’ galleries. In particular, I would like to thank all at Casas Riegner Gallery, Bogotá, who arranged my studio visits in Bogotá, and particularly Catalina Casas and Paula Bossa who have supported negotiations with Johanna Calle and Bernardo Ortiz. Pilar Corrias, Irina Stark, and Amy Somers of Pilar Corrias Gallery, London, supported the production of Shahzia Sikander’s new work. Nick Baker and Katharine Burton, of Simon Lee Gallery, London, provided invaluable advice on the work of Matias Faldbakken and secured loans. Thanks also to: Rebecca Gremmo and Lee Cavaliere of Max Wigram Gallery, London; Tanja Wagner of Galerie Tanja Wagner, Berlin; and to Lisa Panting and Malin Stahl of Hollybush Gardens, London. This exhibition would not have been possible without generous support from numerous funders. In particular, I would like to thank the Ministry of External Affairs of Colombia which has contributed to the production of this catalogue. Additional funders include: the Ministry of Culture, Republic of Colombia, which supported the production of Johanna Calle’s LLUVIAS; and the Norwegian Embassy, London. Drawing Room wishes to thank its institutional and individuals funders including: Arts Council England; the artists who contribute to our Drawing Biennials; Drawing Room Patrons - Brian Boylan, Marie Elena Angulo & Henry Zarb, Paul Hobson, Sigrid and Stephen Kirk and Houston Morris; and Drawing Circle members - Luce Carrigues, Patrick & Julia Heide, Margaret Iverson, Michael Landy and Allegra Pesenti.

Marking Language takes place thanks to the hard work of Drawing Room’s small but highly dedicated team including Co-Director Mary Doyle, Gallery Manager Jacqui McIntosh, Communications Manager Laura Eldret and Study Librarian Yamuna Ravindran. It also coincides with the launch of Drawing Room’s STUDY, a free, open access, research hub and exchange facility comprising a growing specialist drawing library, and accessible archive of Drawing Room’s past programme. ­— Kate Macfarlane

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Installation view, Drawing Room, October 2013


Johanna Calle

WORKS IN EXHIBITION LLUVIAS (RAIN), 2012–13 Typed text on ledger paper 97 drawings of various dimensions Courtesy of the artist and Casas Riegner Gallery, Bogotá Photo by Juan Pablo Gutiérrez

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Study for I’m doing research for my practice, 2013


Study for civil societies, 2013


Annabel Daou

WORKS IN EXHIBITION Study for civil societies, 2013 Ink on repair tape on wall 365.7 x 1.27 cm (12 feet x 1/2 inch) Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Tanja Wagner, Berlin Photo by Tsubasa Berg Study for civil societies, 2013 Ink on repair tape Two scrolls, each approx. 1524 x 1.27 cm (50 x 1/2 inches) Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Tanja Wagner, Berlin Photo by Tsubasa Berg Study for I’m doing research for my practice, 2013 Chalk pencil on paper 853.4 x 101.6 cm (28 feet x 40 inches) Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Tanja Wagner, Berlin Photo by Mark Dalessandro

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Untitled, 2010


Untitled, 2010


Untitled, 2010


Untitled, 2010


Untitled, 2012


Untitled, 2011


Untitled, 2012


Untitled, 2012


Installation view, Drawing Room, October 2013


Bernardo Ortiz

WORKS IN EXHIBITION Bernardo Ortiz Untitled, 2011 Graphite and ink on paper 35 x 25 cm (13 x 9 inches) Courtesy of the artist and Casas Riegner Gallery, Bogotรก Photo by Oscar Monsalve Bernardo Ortiz Untitled, 2010 Graphite and ink on paper 35 x 25 cm (13 x 9 inches) Courtesy of the artist and Casas Riegner Gallery, Bogotรก Photo by Oscar Monsalve Bernardo Ortiz Untitled, 2012 Gouache on paper with fungi 50 x 35 cm (19 x 13 inches); 35 x 25 cm (13 x 9 inches) Courtesy of the artist and Casas Riegner Gallery, Bogotรก Photo by Oscar Monsalve Bernardo Ortiz Untitled, 2012 Graphite and ink on paper 35 x 25 cm (13 x 9 inches) Courtesy of the artist and Casas Riegner Gallery, Bogotรก Photo by Oscar Monsalve

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Untitled (Garbage Bag Grey #10), 2010


Untitled (Garbage Bag Grey #7), 2010


Untitled (Garbage Bag Grey #4), 2010


Untitled (Canvas #26), 2009


Matias Faldbakken

WORKS IN EXHIBITION Untitled (Canvas #26), 2009 Graphite (applied with ruler) on Belgian linen/wooden stretcher 152.5 x 152.5 x 4 cm (60 x 60 x 1 5/8 inches) Courtesy the artist and Simon Lee Gallery, London/Hong Kong Alegre Sarfaty Collection, New York / London / Sao Paulo Untitled (Garbage Bag Grey #4), 2010 Marker pen on grey plastic bag, framed 124.5 x 79 x 0.1 cm (49 x 31 1/8 inches); 134.4 x 88.2 x 4.5 cm (52 7/8 x 34 3/4 x 1 3/4 inches) framed Courtesy the artist and Simon Lee Gallery, London/Hong Kong Danjuma Collection Untitled (Garbage Bag Grey #7), 2010 Marker pen on grey plastic bag, framed 124.5 x 79 x 0.1 cm (49 x 31 1/8 inches); 134.4 x 88.2 x 4.5 cm (52 7/8 x 34 3/4 x 1 3/4 inches) framed Courtesy the artist and Simon Lee Gallery, London/Hong Kong Danjuma Collection Untitled (Garbage Bag Grey #10), 2010 Marker pen on grey plastic bag, framed 124.5 x 79 x 0.1 cm (49 x 31 1/8 inches); 134.4 x 88.2 x 4.5 cm (52 7/8 x 34 3/4 x 1 3/4 inches) framed Courtesy of the artist and Simon Lee Gallery, London/Hong Kong Danjuma Collection

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Untitled (Wall Drawing), 2013, Untitled (Lettriste Sculpture), 2013


Karl Holmqvist

WORKS IN EXHIBITION Untitled (Wall Drawing), 2013 Magic Marker on wall Courtesy of the artist and Hollybush Gardens, London Photo by Peter White Untitled (Lettriste Sculpture), 2013 Aluminium foil on wood Site specific work with sculptural element, 2013 Courtesy of the artist and Hollybush Gardens, London Photo by Peter White

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Epistrophe, 2013


Shahzia Sikander

WOR K S I N E X H I BI T ION Epistrophe, 2013 Ink on paper 3 panels, each 160 x 165 cm (62 x 64 inches) Courtesy of the artist and Pilar Corrias, London Photos by Adam Reich (Complete work pictured p. 26–27; details opposite and p. 28–31)

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Both these exhibitions strive to avoid this common feeling, whether by focusing on the expressive or the affective dimensions of drawing language. But different patterns of audience behavior are also at play: many of the works on show here can be seen as reacting to the dominance of digitization by defending the handexecuted and the unique, but their encounter with a public will never only be in person. Inevitably, and already, these works appear on the Internet, in jpegs on blogs, reproduced in reviews and essays, and in books such as the one you have in your hands. Additionally, few people will see both shows (I have not yet seen either). If writing acts as a stand-in for an absent self, these images of the originals are proliferating faster than we can imagine: such is the immense power of social networks. Though I’ve written this essay in absentia, and though I wish I could see all these works together—the grain of their paper or the cheapness of their Xeroxes, the force with which ink was pushed to flow—their remove forces the writing about them to be about a performance itself of remote communication and exploration, sifting through jpegs like a housebound detective. The works on show here make clear that the gap between artist and audience is not a liability to be overcome but a tool to be exploited, a means of examining how to communicate with others as well as with the authorial self. Indeed, as the ways of seeing work multiply, artists will need to be aware of how their work transmutes from context to context. The works here cut both ways: drawing by hand draws us back to the artist, while writing keeps its options open.

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time of putting together a work into the work itself: the time it takes to retrace the words determines the length of the performance, overturning the relationship between the private realm of production and the public realm of exhibition. Similarly, in Papaconstantinou’s transcriptions of texts in carbonl copy ink on paper, time inheres as an almost legible phenomenon: her drawings turn into blocks of deep blue as she writes the lines over and over, the legibility of the text waning as time becomes more apparent. Suffused as Daou’s work is with an air of rituality, the visual appears as something that stifles one’s ability to understand, overtaking the clarity of language and expressing more directly the ambition and even pathos of the artist’s, and writer’s, attempt to create meaning out of setting pen to paper. Sean Landers’s confessional [sic] (1993) suggests the intimacy of the experience of writing: the catharsis and impetus to write, even if no one will read what is written. It is a condition both critiqued and performed by Landers, who hilariously—and movingly—publishes his private confessions under a title that suggests he hasn’t changed a thing from the draft written for himself. Deb Sokolow’s drawn chapters for a book that doesn’t exist signal the inverse of Landers’s [sic]: a work that trades reading for writing, and the temporal axis of conventional reading for the instant apprehension of drawing and image. The fact that both drawing and reading are such personal, private activities—privacy key to the art on view here—also makes them tricky to display in a gallery, where they challenge audience expectations. Text on a wall takes words out of a domain of reading that we control: sitting in a chair, book in hand, no one watching or judging the moment of aesthetic contemplation, pages moving or not moving at our own pace. Reading a poem in a public setting forces us to reveal how much time we need to understand what a poem is doing, or to walk away with the acrid dissatisfaction of having only seen a poem that we have not had a chance to read. The converse dissatisfaction, of course, comes from going to a gallery hoping to see some visual verve and merely getting some texts on a wall.

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and alluring, is conceived of as female, and the verbal, vocal and persuasive, is conceived of as male.2 Ortiz reverses the direction of ekphrasis for the work he exhibits in Drawing Time, where he attempts a “pictorial” translation of the Frank O’Hara poem Why I am Not a Painter, which is similarly about the divide between image and word. In translating the poem into Spanish, his mistakes and lacunae not only visually demonstrate the difficulty of adequately bringing the O’Hara poem into another medium, but also serve to represent Ortiz himself: replacing O’Hara, a poet who epitomizes the New York School, Ortiz becomes the author, struggling in Spanish and in the “wrong” medium, speaking in drawing rather than words. It is a self-portrait, for all its modesty, of a very clever sort. Indeed, the personal stakes in producing work feel strongly present here, buttressed by the knowledge that drawing is an activity that itself takes time as a legible phenomenological gesture. It is easy to imagine how much time a drawing took: a rushed drawing is evidently rushed; a carefully worked drawing shows the hours put into it. The minutes and hours elapsed in drawing are legible in a way that time is not for ready-mades or conceptual works or even for film. Rather than represent a block of time in the way that a novel represents a certain time period, say of ten years or of just a few days, the relationship between drawing and time is more direct. This facet of drawing is evident in a number of works in which the performance of writing appears as a personal, almost autobiographical endeavor. For her I am doing research for my practice (2013), for example, Annabel Daou retraces that titular phrase in chalk on a blackboard. With its references to an antiquated method of schoolroom punishment, the work elevates the unseen, research 2 Ekphrasis has become a key mode of thinking about the verbal and visual regimes, particularly in literary theory. See for example W.J.T. Mitchell, Picture Theory (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994), especially Chapter Five, “Ekphrasis and the Other,” 151–181. See also my essay on ekphrasis in a book project by Sarah Pierce: Melissa Gronlund, “A Short History of Ekphrasis and Its Demanding Audience,” in Rike Frank ed., Sketches of Universal History Compiled from Several Authors by Sarah Pierce (London: Book Works and The Showroom, 2012), 30–41.

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references transform slanders and slurs into terms of inclusivity and affirmation. Like Holmqvist’s attempts to subvert the stranglehold of language in order to make for more peaceful and tolerant living conditions, other artists look to writing to create things in the world at large. For Johanne Calle’s LLUVIAS (RAIN) (2012–13), which echoes Concrete poetry, the artist gathered together indigenous Colombian tribal words for “rain” that had never before been written down. Ironizing the import of entering words into an authoritative dictionary, LLUVIAS (RAIN) transliterates the words onto the page and hangs these typed words vertically in the exhibition space, creating the illusion of the falling of rain. Here words move from a visual to a performative mode and back again. In a correspondence with Kate Macfarlane, the curator of Marking Time, Bernardo Ortiz described the experience of going to see a James Ensor engraving at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in terms that recall a similar shift into and out of referentiality: …when I got to MoMA I asked to see a particular engraving by Ensor (Stars at the Cemetery) that was perfect for my project. If you just see it you might think it is an abstract jumble of mezzotint (not very different from the screen on an old cathode ray tube TV). But once you read the title you “see” the stars and the cemetery. I liked that off-again, on-again nature of the “image.”1

From this experience, Ortiz developed a performance involving a textual description of the engraving, translating the visual image, square-centimeter by square-centimeter, into a grid-like series of words. A woman reads this text aloud in the audio performance, playing up the obsessiveness that would make an artist attempt such a laborious task. Ortiz’s work here is an example of the exercise of ekphrasis, the verbal description of a visual object, a privileged literary form in the Western cultural tradition. Ekphrasis figures as a utopian bid to overcome the otherness of the other domain, visual or verbal. It also contests the gendering conventionally associated with each regime, where the visual, mute 1 Email from Bernardo Ortiz to Kate Macfarlane, 17 July, 2012.

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readings of conceptual work, in which art equals language equals idea. Thus, for instance, Carl Andre’s concrete poetry contests the reading that both his sculpture and his poetry are simply about space: while he often showed his poetry alongside his sculptural works, exploring the white space of the paper in parallel to his sculptures’ exploration of three-dimensional space, Andre’s poems in Drawing Time, Reading Time are elaborate and emotive in a way that his sculptures are not. The Hanging of Roger Casement (1963) concerns the execution of a Northern Irish rebel, and its repeated lines function both as a Minimalist serial strategy and as a nod to Irish patterns of folkloric speech—and, not least, as an affective poetic device. Andre’s writing appears quite clearly here not only “to be looked at” but also to be moved by. Similarly, Mirtha Dermisache, an Argentinian artist active in the 1970s, was part of the movement of avant-garde poetry interested in asemic writing, which attempted to push language towards absolute non-meaning. In her Diarios series, the artist copies out the daily newspaper, turning an organ of information into a rectangular array of shapes and forms, preserving the architecture of the newspaper but losing the informational remit. Though we learn nothing from the newspaper about the events it records, we can gauge a lot about Dermisache’s state of mind on the day she does the copying: concentration reflected in small, precise characters; tiredness in lazy loops; enthusiasm in large characters. The beauty of the project comes to the fore in the fluidity and attention that Dermisache brings to this throwaway object of daily consumption as the newspaper becomes a carefully drawn image of itself. For more contemporary artists, particularly in the London show, language systems and performative responses to them are important. Karl Holmqvist’s work contests the rigidity of linguistic norms and rules by undermining the means through which they are expressed. His grid-like poems celebrate the unruly freedom of language, turning “EYES,” for example, into “YES,” or “NO ONE IS ONE” into “ONE IS NO ONE.” Poems comprised of slogans, appropriated snippets of pop songs, and art world

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exile—the novel is set in a college town much like Ithaca, New York, where the Russian native lived for a time after leaving the USSR—it is also important to recognize that those potential tales the narrator imagines for the fireflies and bats are of pain and exile: writing is not only about stories but is itself a vehicle of transference, a way to communicate in absentia. It is also hard not to think of the “blue ink” of writing marveled at in Nabokov when one sees Nina Papaconstantinou’s obsessive, indexical reworkings of major texts in Drawing Time, Reading Time, the exhibition, alongside Marking Language, under discussion here. Both shows dissect the use of text in contemporary visual artworks, drawing a line from conceptual art to the present. In her works comprised of lines and lines of blue ink, Papaconstantinou rewrites the text of E.H. Gombrich’s Shadows, for example, and with each penned sentence makes her own self more apparent and palpable: moving the book, as if pressed through her own body, into illegibility, and allegorizing her own ambition to understand and consume it fully. In the end, Gombrich’s analysis of shadows in painting becomes nothing other than marks on a page, a visual splash of ink (and a hint of Yves Klein). Drawing’s connection with the hand returns a sense of the self to language, which, even written, is mostly these days mediated by technology: by computer screens or smartphones, or by the false immateriality of emailed texts. The works on show here question what it is not only to have an “I” behind written language but also to understand the moments when mark-making becomes primary—and the moments when the system of language that organizes marks into meaning begins to dissipate. This spectrum that stretches between writing as a purveyor of linguistic information and writing as marks on a page hovers over many of the works in these two exhibitions. Of the two, The Drawing Center’s has the more historical focus, looking back to conceptual art to discover works that have a more emotional or personal content than is allowed by conventional

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Decodable Signals Melissa Gronlund

In a bravura passage of writing from Vladimir Nabokov’s most selfreflexive and postmodern novel, Pale Fire, the narrator, a jealous academic who is guarding the unfinished novel of a recently deceased colleague, marvels at the human ability to make words—meaning— out of penned marks on paper. These marks are of the same kind which you too read, and by which I, as unseen and unknown to you as you are to me, communicate with you. Nabokov’s narrator wonders about other notational systems that might exist: “Solemnly I weighed in my hand what I was carrying under my left armpit, and for a moment I found myself enriched with an indescribable amazement as if informed that fireflies were making decodable signals on behalf of stranded spirits, or that a bat was writing a legible tale of torture in the bruised and branded sky.” The ability of writing to encapsulate all this in its few permutations of slants, verticals, and ovoids is nothing short of miraculous: an everyday fact the narrator wants to make strange in order to remind us what a miracle it is. Read against Nabokov’s own

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Language are inspired by a vast range of texts and both acknowledge and challenge conventional or shared meaning. These visually rich, multi-layered works invite their “readers” to seek a plurality of meanings that are personal to them and that can be a catalyst for their imagination. As Pavel Büchler has said: “Art only makes sense as an activity out in the world, in its social destination, it doesn’t make sense ‘in the studio’. But that applies to everything, to writing, of course, or I suppose language in general. There would be no language if it were not for communication.”22

22 Pavel Büchler, “Hester Reeve - An Interview with Pavel Büchler,” in Absentmindedwindowgazing (Rotterdam: Veenman Publishers, 2007), 35.

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specifically is not intended as a statement about personal identity or a judgment on any specific culture. More important than issues of multiculturalism is the emptying out of meaning in a sound-byte driven society. This also pertains to the language used around art, which often relies on a conventional theoretical vocabulary evacuated of much of its ideational content....”21 LLUVIAS (RAIN) (2012–13) by Johanna Calle (b. 1965, Bogotá, Colombia) manifests as an accumulation, a gathering storm of letters, which are fragmented and stuttered onto ledger paper to form words. Each letter in LLUVIAS is made up of sections of typewritten words that are taken from texts about precipitation extremes, ethno-linguistics, and the situation of indigenous peoples in Colombia today. The letters spell some of the phonetic expressions used by these people, which are passed verbally from generation to generation, to describe different types of rain. Many of these tribes and their languages have disappeared, most during the twentieth century. LLUVIAS includes oral expressions from sixty-eight languages that are still in use and have rarely been transcribed. Since 1998, Calle has adapted a range of manual typewriters to enable her to work on a larger scale and to create denser texts. The ground for LLUVIAS is found ledger paper, a rich source of both form and meaning that she has used for a number of years. For Calle, ledger paper represents individual powerlessness in the face of bureaucracy, particularly for marginalized and indigenous peoples. It is also susceptible to fading, erasing, and alteration; it is trapped by its material condition and resistant to reproduction. Typewritten words and ledger paper provide Calle with the means to explore her concern for environmental and social issues in an objective manner and without resorting to sentimentalism. Derrida’s “Writing and Difference” consists of “readings” of texts by a number of authors, where each text is “opened” up by Derrida, used as a springboard to deviate, to wander some distance from the original subject. In a similar spirit, the works in Marking 21 Annabel Daou, personal correspondence with author, July 2013.

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His work for Marking Language is composed like a musical score that has recurring themes or motifs. The first theme is an inventory of eternally deferred actions, with one example taking the form of sheets of art paper that have grown mold. These sheets were given to the artist some years ago, in exchange for labor, and always felt too precious to use. The second theme is a “pictorial” Spanish translation of Frank O’Hara‘s poem Why I am not a Painter, which aims to expose all the doubts that are implicit in the act of translating. In the artist’s words: “Like a painting in which you can see each and every layer. I transcribe poems regularly. They are a kind of drawing. Sometimes a verse might be repeated all over a page. Words that grow like fungi.”20 On the day Marking Language opens, Annabel Daou (b. 1967, Beirut, Lebanon) will repeatedly write the phrase “I’m doing research for my practice” in chalk pencil onto a blackboard over a nine-hour period. Referencing John Baldessari’s I Am Making Art (1971), Daou’s durational work represents “Limbo,” part one of a series of performances collectively titled The Punishments, which take the themes of Dante’s descent into hell to critique the social and political aspects of making art today. The performance involves a task that is as meaningless as a school punishment, and it questions the idea of drawing as a preliminary or secondary medium as well as performance as art-making. Civil Societies (2013) continues Daou’s exploration into the ways in which phonetic transliteration both aids and hinders crosscultural communication. The work comprises a series of English curses and civilities transliterated into Arabic, alongside Arabic curses and civilities translated into English. These are written on correction tape, a fragile material attached directly to the gallery wall. It is only when spoken that sense can be made of these phonetically transliterated words. The material fragility of the support on which the words are written suggests their essential insubstantiality—as once uttered, they disappear, ensuring only fleeting relevance. Daou says: “The use of English and Arabic 20 Bernardo Ortiz, personal correspondence with author, February 2013.

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He has described how at this time he “made drawings of deaf and dumb sign language, which I drew without looking, and this gradually helped me to find another way to subvert what we generally expect from linguistic communication and how to use various ‘surprises’ which emerge directly from the logic and structure of language­—to one’s own aesthetic ends.”16 Emanating from this early work, Conversational Drawings 1 (2007) is a series of fourteen drawings that straddle the London and New York shows. They show hands engaged in shadow puppetry, but the resulting shadows are withheld. This is one of a number of series in which the object of demonstration is missing. The motivation for making these works is the idea that demonstration or instruction is an incitement to conversation, which Büchler believes to be the role of art. The image is impermanent due to the nature of the carefully chosen “tractorfeed” carbonless copy paper; in time the images will deteriorate and eventually disappear altogether. Büchler’s investment of skill in his drawings is often meant to be construed as futile labour; his main interest is not in the production of artworks but in the role of the artist as “a catalyst for somebody else’s imagination—that’s the only meaningful role I recognise.”17 Bernardo Ortiz (b. 1972, Bogotá, Colombia) shares Büchler’s interest in riddles, metaphor, and ambiguity. Ortiz explains his approach as “exploring a territory,” which helps him get around the notion of the art work as a contained and finite object. One of his formal strategies involves pinning his drawings to a wooden structure affixed to the wall as “a way of keeping in touch with the gross materiality that many times a work of art tries to hide.”18 The individual drawings explore the page as both a material support and a “discursive space.” Ortiz has suggested: “writing can also be a compulsive act. Not necessarily an act of meaning. Not necessarily a meaningful act.”19 16 Pavel Büchler quoted in Jarolsav Andĕl, “Mr Büchler Wrote To Me,” in Labour in Vain (Prague: DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, 2010), 16. 17 Pavel Büchler in conversation with Charles Esche and Philippe Pirotte in Absentmindedwindowgazing (Rotterdam: Veenman Publishers, 2007), 165. 18 Unpublished artist’s statement, 2012. 19 Ibid.

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Lettrism evolved into the Situationist International, a movement whose disparate members attempted to find effective channels through which to critique consumer capitalism. Sharing similar concerns, Matias Faldbakken (b. 1973, Oslo, Norway) quotes earlier art styles as part of his multi-faceted strategy. For example, Untitled (Canvas #26) (2009) echoes Ad Reinhardt’s series of square black painting (begun in 1963 and continued until his death). He adopts Reinhardt’s 60-inch-by-60-inch format but otherwise uses very different devices to deliver a certain blankness of expression. This work is typical of Faldbakken’s studied carelessness, which results in an ambiguity as to the meaning of the words. Drawn with a ruler and deliberately overlapping, the words can be read as either “THE HILLS” or “THE HELLS.” The final letter, an “s” on its side, begins the transformation into a swastika, giving symbolic weight to the negative reading of “hell.” Faldbakken also writes fiction, and like his visual work, his Scandinavian Misanthropy trilogy is open to a plurality of meanings.14 Though his novels are written in a straightforward narrative style, his visual art exploits illegibility and irrationality as he searches for the in-between space of “uncommunicative abstraction.”15 In Untitled (Garbage Bag Grey #4, #7 and #10) (2010), Faldbakken has daubed grey plastic garbage bags with a range of graphic marks. The serial nature of the work, and its blackness, again references Reinhardt. It is not clear whether the graphic marks are intended as diagrams or words, but their faltering characteristics nevertheless render them mute. When Pavel Büchler (b. 1952, Prague, Czechoslovakia) arrived in the UK in the early 1980s he had hardly any knowledge of English. 13 Lettrism was initiated by Jean-Isadore Goldstein (1925–2007), known as Isou, a Romanian artist who arrived in Paris at the end of the World War II. He was first a sound poet, producing poetry reminiscent of the Dadaists Tristan Tzara and Raoul Hausmann. Later he developed a form called “hypography,” a mixture of letterforms and symbols, which he believed could create a new kind of subjectivity. 14 Written under the pseudonym Abo Rasul, Faldbakken’s Scandinavian Misanthropy Trilogy includes The Cocka Hola Company (2001), Macht und Rebel (2003), and Unfun (2008). 15 Matias Faldbakken interviewed by Luigi Fassi, “A Million Ways to Say No,” Mousse Magazine (March 2009), 12.

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Marking Language, Holmqvist says: “I think of the graffiti, sculpture, and reading as different ways to have language occupy space. One of the things I’m interested in in working with written and spoken words is how language seems to be at least two things: the actual letters and the way they look, and the thing they describe that is then pictured in the reader or listener‘s mind and that can stay on in memory.”8 Holmqvist was a punk rocker, and though poetry was very unfashionable in that scene—was somehow embarrassing, certainly to deliver—he saw it “as a vehicle for communicating with and between people. It’s basically something that anyone can do: you can use pen and paper, or if you can’t afford paper, you can just write on the wall....”9 Sarah Wood, in her commentary on Derrida, suggests that he perceives poetry as “‘access to free speech’; it frees language from signification...” and that he “identifies with the endurance of writing. The notion of a writing that wants something…opens a discussion…”10 Holmqvist often uses controversial statements, for example, “Women’s place is in the home,” to prompt the audience to think through the layers of meaning in such a statement. Holmqvist has said, “I consider myself more of an artist working with language and poetry, rather than a poet trying to have art shows…,”11 which suggests that visual art and poetry are equivalent art forms. Holmqvist borrows phrases and expressions to create his poetry in recognition that, “that’s what language is anyway. We learn to speak by imitating—our parents, other people, teachers—and it’s always about repetition.”12 In the same vein, his Lettriste sculptures—words that are fashioned in an ad hoc manner from pieces of wood, covered in tin foil—nod to the Lettrism of Isou, whose poems broke language down to the letter.13 8 Karl Holmqvist, personal correspondence with the author, July 2013. 9 Kayla Guthrie, “Words are People: Q+A with Karl Holmqvist,” Art in America [online], June 8, 2012, http://www.artinamericamagazine.com/news-opinion/ conversations/2012-06-08/karl-holmqvist-alex-zachary-peter-currie-moma/ 10 Sarah Wood, Derrida’s Writing and Difference (London: Continuum, 2009), 40-1. 11 Karl Holmqvist, personal correspondence with the author, July 2013. 12 Ibid.

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paintings…Often the use of writing for me draws upon such implications as I think about translation’s relationship to a tradition, and tradition with all its inherent redactions.”4 Sikander’s practice is inspired by her reading of poetry and literature and text also takes shape in the work itself. For example, in her new work for Marking Language Sikander takes a verse from a ghazal by the Urdu poet Ghalib (1797–1870): “The cypress, despite its freedom, remains captive to the garden.” The ghazal is a form of poetry that, according to Faisal Devji, is ultimately untranslatable.5 Much of Sikander’s work explores ideas about translation and asks the question, “What is the distance between the original and its translation and at what point does the translation become an original?”6 The new work is made through the application of drawn layers that are built out of contradictory visual languages, including the abstracted Gopi hairstyle, swarms of arrows that oppose one another, and the verse from the ghazal, written in Urdu. In the artist’s words: “The use of writing often plays upon the idea of exactitude and uncertainty. By repetition and layering, text becomes fluid and chaotic. In the process of translation, what is revealed, the fluidity of the language or the obscurity of the meaning?”7 The work of Karl Holmqvist (b. 1964, Vasteras, Sweden) takes the form of poetry, performance, installation, and photography. His poems are made up of quotations from diverse sources, including lines from songs, poems, slogans, and political speeches. These cohere—become his—through the lilting monotone that he adopts in their oration, and through the careful arrangement of the words he writes on walls in black marker. With reference to his work for 4 Shahzia Sikander, personal correspondence with the author, July 2013. 5 In a very informative essay about the poetry of Ghalib and the manner in which Sikander exploits its riches, Faisal Devji suggests that “such writing cannot be a medium for translation, universal or conceptual. As a form of representation, writing betrays conceptual authority, possessing instead a life of its own.” See Faisal Devji, “Translated Pleasures,” in Shahzia Sikander (Chicago: The Renaissance Society, University of Chicago, 1998), 11–15. 6 Shahzia Sikander, personal correspondence with the author, July 2013. 7 Ibid.

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speech, is always stolen. Always stolen but it is always open. It never belongs to its author or to its addressee….”3 Perhaps letters and words, even when scribed by hand, can thus retain an objectiveness that is a necessary condition of contemporary artistic practice. Marking Language includes work by seven artists from different parts of the world: Pavel Büchler, Johanna Calle, Annabel Daou, Matias Faldbakken, Karl Holmqvist, Bernardo Ortiz, and Shahzia Sikander. The manner in which written communication manifests in the work of these artists is two-fold. On one level, written language has subject matter and meaning; on another, the physical characteristics of letters and words are used as formal devices. The artists in Marking Language use a range of means to divorce language from linear narrative, for example, by fragmenting words and phrases, or by including multiple and contradictory graphic languages and giving form to phonetic words and expressions. Whilst not necessarily overt, the artists share a preference for challenging authority, for adopting strategies that are variously anarchic, banal, and mute, and for exploiting both the multiple meanings that language has to offer and its visual richness. The work can be seen as a reflection of the fragmentation of our reality, despite the illusion of world-wide connection, and a yearning for intimate and meaningful dialogue. Shahzia Sikander was born in Lahore, Pakistan (1969), and moved to New York as a young adult. Her work is informed by a mix of cultural references—Hindu, Muslim, Christian, and Classical, both mythological and folkloric—which are combined with contemporary politics and popular culture as a means to sabotage a singular, culturally authoritative voice. At college in Lahore she received tutelage in miniature painting and developed an interest in the way in which text is segregated from image, especially in the Indo-Persian tradition. She has noted that “historical miniature paintings (illustrations) were often torn out of their original book context. This created a disjuncture and a visual unfamiliarity with the Arabic/Persian script accompanying the 3 Ibid., 224.

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Marking Language

Kate Macfarlane

If there is neither machine nor text without physical origin, there is no domain of the psychic without text.” 1 Jacques Derrida is perhaps best known for his assertion that “pure perception does not exist: we are written only as we write, by the agency within us which always keeps watch over perception, be it internal or external. The ‘subject’ of writing does not exist if we mean by that some sovereign solitude of the author.” 2 This suggests that there is no “outside of the text,” that all experience, including psychic, is experienced through written language. Drawing is similarly foundational to human experience—to make a mark, with whatever material is to hand, is an innate drive shared by all. As such, drawing and written communication seem natural bedfellows. Derrida talks about writing in very physical terms, about the tone and texture of letters and words, about repetition and fragmentation, about writing as compulsion, and using writing to think. He suggests that: “the letter, inscribed or propounded 1 Jacques Derrida, Writing and Difference (London: Routledge, 2001), 250. 2 Ibid., 285.

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The Drawing Center and Drawing Room exploit the geographic distance between their two exhibitions, which are mounted on opposite sides of the Atlantic, by looking across continents and back in time in order to explore the richness and complexity of the even broader creative territory of drawing and writing. The two exhibitions are straddled only by Pavel Büchler’s Conversational Drawings 1, a series of 14 drawings that have been split between the two venues. It is a paradoxical instance of commonality, as Büchler’s drawings show hands engaged in what looks to be sign language but is in fact only shadow puppetry. Such misrecognitions are the point. Written and spoken language is itself full of lacunae, and both shows explore this condition. Indeed, the fact that these two very different yet related exhibitions occur simultaneously on opposing shores testifies to the open and inexhaustible nature of the subject they share. —Claire Gilman and Kate Macfarlane

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Foreword

Drawing Time, Reading Time and Marking Language are parallel exhibitions that explore the relationship between linguistic communication and drawing in recent art. Occurring contemporaneously at The Drawing Center, New York, and Drawing Room, London—the first such collaboration between two institutions committed to the significance of drawing—our exhibitions present two distinct theses through a diverse selection of work by an international roster of artists. In each case the selected artists take language and the written word as the subject of their work. They examine the codes, symbols, and structures of language, while at the same time acknowledging and harnessing the personal and cultural context in which the work is produced. Rather than denying the subjective, expressive form of language, as many artists sought to do in the 1960s, or foregrounding language’s key role in defining identity, as others did in the 1980s and ’90s, the artists in Drawing Time, Reading Time and Marking Language articulate paths between the formal properties and coded meanings of words and text. In short, these exhibitions investigate drawing and writing as distinct yet interrelated modes of expression.

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Marking Language October 10 – December 14, 2013

Curated By Kate Macfarlane


Marking Language

Drawing Time, Reading Time  

The Drawing Center's Drawing Papers, Volume 108 featuring essays by Claire Gilman and Melissa Grunlund.

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