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Drawing Time, Reading Time

In 2013, The Drawing Center exhibited an interesting exhibition that explored the relations between drawing and writing as distinct, yet interrelated, gestures. Titled ‘Drawing Time, Reading Time’, they brought together an international group of artists including Carl Andre, Pavel Büchler, Guy de Cointet, Mirtha Dermisache, Sean Landers, Allen Ruppersberg, Nina Papaconstantinou, Deb Sokolow, and Molly Springfield. This exhibition was organised simultaneously with Marking Language at Drawing Room, London. Historically, 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 favoured 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.

TITLE: Mirtha Dermisache, Diario N° Año 1
MEDIUM: Ink on Paper
DIMENSIONS: 18 5/8 x 14 3/8 inches (page 4 of 8).
YEAR: 1972
COURTESY: Henrique Faria Fine Art, New York.

‘Drawing Time, Reading Time’ considered 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. The nine artists in ‘Drawing Time, Reading Time’ did not challenge writing and drawing’s integrity as distinct disciplines, each with its own parameters. Instead, they investigated ways in which each discipline has a dual character and how, when considered together, they reflect upon and complicate each other.

TITLE: Mirtha Dermisache, Livre 3
MEDIUM: Bound book, ink on paper and Private collection.
DIMENSIONS: 12 7/8 x 10 inches (32.7 x 25.4 cm).
YEAR: 1970
IMAGE COURTESY:Henrique Faria Fine Art, New York.

The exhibition looked in depth at a select number of American and international artists as case studies within a more widespread trend in this discourse. Approaches are varied, ranging from Nina Papaconstantinou’s labour intensive transcriptions of entire texts on carbon copy paper to Allen Ruppersberg’s drawings of book covers juxtaposed with the time he projects spending for reading each book. Taken together, the work on hand addressed the struggle for communication and self-expression in their diverse forms. It was curated by Claire Gilman.

TITLE: Guy de Cointet
MEDIUM: Ink and pencil on Arches paper and Private collection, Katmandu.
DIMENSIONS: 19 3/4 x 25 1/2 inches (50.2 x 64.8 cm).
YEAR: Russians, 1983.
IMAGE COURTESY: Greene Naftali, New York.

TITLE: Nina Papaconstantinou Pericles, Epitaph
MEDIUM: Carbon copy ink on paper.
DIMENSIONS: 9/16 x 12 5/8 inches (42 x 32 cm).
YEAR: 2011-12.
COURTESY: The artist and Kalfayan Galleries, Athens/Thessaloniki.

TITLE: Allen Ruppersberg,(The Book as Object)
MEDIUM: Pencil on paper and Collection of C. Christine Nichols.
DIMENSIONS: 21 1/4 x 27 3/16 inches (54 x 69 cm).
YEAR: 1976.
COURTESY: The artist and Greene Naftali, New York.

TITLE: Sean Landers, Detail of [sic]
MEDIUM: Ink on paper.
DIMENSIONS: Variable, 451 leaves, 11 x 8 1/2 inches each.
YEAR: 1993.
COURTESY: The artist and Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York.

About The Drawing Center

The Drawing Center is the only not-for-profit fine arts institution in the country to focus solely on the exhibition of drawings, both historical and contemporary. It was established in 1977 to provide opportunities for emerging and under-recognized artists; to demonstrate the significance and diversity of drawings throughout history; to stimulate public dialogue on issues of art and

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