Arts and Literature Editor Julie Daunt reviews the current Lewis Glucksman exhibition, which traces the relationship between drawing and the moving image.
What is drawing? Is it the lines made by a pen on paper, or is it the act of creating those lines? What about photography, which is Greek for “drawing with light”? This current Glucksman show explores these questions through a mix of videos, photographs and drawings from old, new, Irish and international artists. It also investigates the concept of drawing, introducing new ways of thinking about it, approaching the method from different perspectives and, in particular, drawing’s ability to capture movement and gesture.
The exhibition is curated by Ed Krčma and Matt Packer. I asked Ed how he would define drawing and its relationship with the moving image: “Drawing is to be defined relationally (by its relationships of alignment and difference with other objects, practices and technologies). Once that is admitted, we might also say that drawing is to be defined historically, as the field of relations into which it enters is constantly shifting, as technologies of representation and image-making advance. So, drawing will be thought about differently after the arrival of the printing presses, after the invention of photography, of film, video and digital media, for example.
Drawing’s relationship with film (the moving image) is complex. Film combines movement and stasis: the filmstrip moves through the projector at 24 frames per second, but each frame is in fact a still image. A drawing also involves the combination of many discrete imprints to make up an image. While that image is still (in works on paper), the act of viewing it always involves motion. The eye moves across and along and between marks, it does not see them all at once. This relationship between movement and stasis is at the heart of this exhibition.”
There are a few artists and works in this exhibition that are definitely worth taking note of. One such artist is British Tacita Dean who is renowned for her work in 16mm. This exhibition is her Irish premiere, with the show featuring her video work of Giorgio Morandi’s studio. Another interesting piece is Pierre Bismuth with his film still of Gretta Garbo, where he followed the movement of her right hand with a black marker, to create an unusual meeting of cinema and drawing.
Susan Morris’ works are also worth a see, which were created using data collected in a motion capture studio. The artist wore reflectors in the studio and her repetitive movements were converted into a series of fine lines, which appear against a black background. Here, Morris’ movements have created a work that is both digital and a drawing, providing another approach and perspective to the practise.
The Sisk gallery shows screenings of William Kentridge’s animated film entitled Other Faces and my personal favourite. The film is made from a process of erasure and re-drawing in charcoal on a single page. The artist photographed every single change he made to the drawing so the page shows the traces and changes he made to the picture. It is part of series of poignant representations of apartheid in South Africa featuring the artist’s alter egos Soho and Felix.
For more traditional concepts of drawing, you should take at look at the works of French artists Henri Matisse and Henri Michaux. These feature alongside the geometric designs of Tom Hackney, which were made from the chess moves played by influential artist Marcel Duchamp during his chess games (Duchamp famously gave up art for chess).
For something a bit eerie and quirky, Alice Maher’s Flora is screened in a partitioned room. Maher adopts a method similar to Kentridge for her animation, which draws on the themes of metamorphosis, mythology and heritage. Finally, Dennis Oppenheim’s video installation is worth a look. This work explores the tactile feeling of drawing, with his video showing his son drawing on his back, while he traces his son’s design onto a wall.
Overall, this exhibition traces the relationship between drawing and the rise of technology. It displays new approaches and perspectives to the debate on the definition of drawing. It shows some interesting and innovative works. So whether you like film, photography or just want to see something new, this exhibition is well worth seeing.
Ed Krčma is a lecturer in UCC. Motion Capture runs until November 4.