Monday 30 April 2012

Biro Drawings inspired by Boetti

On Saturday after lunch at the Level 7 Restaurant at Tate Modern went to see the Boetti exhibition. Amazing embroideries of maps but the  monumental  biro drawings (below)" bringing the World into the world"  like indigo ikat weavings were what drew me back to make notes. I had my own attempt ( above) on a much smaller scale and  apart from trying to work out the process , it  brought  further questions (again) about personal mark making.

Questions about the process  jotted down in my sketchbook :
Does direction matter (up and down or side to side?)
How far the lines overlap?
Taking the pen off the paper or scribbling?
where do you start and finish?
Brand/ size of pen ? size of pen 'nib'
How you hold the pen?
Pressure of the pen?
Speed of drawing?
How long you spend in one session?
Quality/texture  of the paper?
What's underneath the paper ?
Drawing guidelines - is there a plan?
Retracing steps, going over sections/

This last one made me think of the 'unknown draughtspeople' who actually did the work . Theirs were the individual marks that  brought variation to the work but remain unacknowledged. What did these assistants  think of  what they were drawing?
Likewise the skilled women embroiderers whose work was organised  by male Afghan associates of Boetti , first in Afghanistan then Pakistan . Wonderful stitch mark-making particularly in the seas of the maps. 
Who is the artist- the designer or the person who executes it?


Linda B. said...

Thanks for introducing me to Boetti - lots of food for thought here!

Kathleen Loomis said...

Who is the artist?

traditional answer: the artist had the idea, the craftsperson executed it. For instance, the "paintings" in St. Peter's in Rome, which aren't painted at all, but done in mosaic -- and are identified as by Giotto, even though I highly doubt he ever picked up a piece of stone or glued it to the wall. In this view the "ART" occurs primarily in the brain, not in the hand.

I think this definition probably still holds, although some contemporary artists do give credit to their craftspeople. Worth thinking about.