Moshe Ladanga

Drawing Together

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I recently had a tutorial with Andy, and I decided to discuss a pretty pivotal issue with my collaborative project with Katrin. There were several things that were developing, threads that could turn into projects that would lead me astray (not that I mind, but not now please- haha). The main issue is drawing. It is quite vexing to think about it, because drawing has always been part of whatever I do, and there is a solitude that the act of it creates. Frankly, it is the most personal act of creation in my practice, and to engage the idea of drawing itself gives me postmodern shudders.

There was this show last year, the big splashy one by Matthew Barney at The Sepentine, and it was that particular time that I began to question the idea of drawing itself in the context of contemporary art. Barney explored and deconstructed these ideas, and cast a wide net on the big issues. There were videos that showed him harnessed and hung against a ship’s hull, drawing a la Pollock, with much bravado and heroic artistry. There were also drawings that he made in the space itself, marks in the high corners of the ceiling. I remember distinctly going around and feeling a familiarity with his process, but the strange thing was that not a single thing moved me, the only thing that stirred was the art history pages in my head, flipping like a rolodex. Yes, it has been said many times over that he creates his own language, and the meta-symbols in his films and installations all correlate to a personal universe. But if you look closely and clear away all the hype, stand for a minute or so and pay attention to his work, you start to see the neat lines of academic precision. It is in the correlations that reveal the diligence of art-history-art-making, resulting in a self-consciousness that is too prevalent today.

In the tutorial, Andy suggested that we go see another exhibition in the Serpentine, the one by Anthony McCall. We haven’t gone there yet, but from the web page alone, it is worth the look:

mccall_3.jpg

After the tutorials, as we were having our post-dinner chats, Katrin brought it up. At first I was quite hesitant, sort of on the edge of prevarication. She put forth the same question that Andy put forth, the challenge of finding out the reason for the collaboration, and how we would work it out individually. I realized that this idea of drawing in my head was something that I held close, something that I refused to open. It was a space of creation that held me safe. But for the collaboration to really work, I have to release these lines. The solution was simple, a process both private and shared.

diaries-01.jpg

Drawing together has the intimacy and the individuality of a shared openness, a dynamic wave of lines that draws its references not from points of knowledge, but from the act of meaning-making itself. Maybe these books and these marks bear something more honest, a tangibility that speaks not only of knowledge, but of experience.

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Written by mosheladanga

January 30, 2008 at 2:37 AM

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