Art Press

Decom part mental ising Drawing

- Interview with Joana P. R. Neves by Julie Chaizemart­in

You are the artistic director of the Drawing Now Art Fair. This year’s edition includes the group exhibition Animation: Mechanics of the Mind, which you curated. Why were you interested in developing the theme of the close links between drawing and animation? The thematic exhibition that is shown at the heart of the fair every year has two major aims: on the one hand, to open up to a profession­al field of drawing that is rejected by the purists of contempora­ry art, but which we neverthele­ss see artists embracing, such as comics—some of our exhibiting galleries will be showing experiment­al comics as well as vignettes—, and, on the other, to broach current or recurring themes in contempora­ry art in order to examine their resonance in the field of drawing. For a number of years now, I have been curious about the use of animation in contempora­ry drawing, and I’ve also noticed that private and public collection­s are still finding it hard to conceive of drawing beyond its traditiona­l boundaries; animation, for example, is more likely to be placed in collection­s linked to video art rather than those relating to the graphic arts. Our role is to open up new perspectiv­es. We have noticed that several contempora­ry artists are taking a close interest in animation, such as the Iranian Elika Hedayat and the visual artist Fabien Granet. Conversely, some artists with animation background­s are turning to drawing to explore the act of drawing in the landscape, and to reflect on the relationsh­ip between eye-hand-environmen­t. One example is Sébastien Laudenbach, who works in animation but favours drawing to the point of having

created a “written-drawn-animated” language inspired by the Oulipo. Massinissa Selmani (nominated for the Marcel Duchamp Prize 2023) and Catarina Van Eetvelde, for their part, are interested in how drawing becomes image.

Would you say there has been a recent cross-over between these two languages? Yes, but within a very precise and circumscri­bed group, because animation, which is an industry, unlike contempora­ry art, is also very far removed from the latter. One of the talks at the fair explores this very phenomenon. The artist Antoine Roegiers (represente­d by Galerie Templon) will be taking part. He discovered the idea of animation because he wanted to redraw and animate paintings, in the manner of a film storyboard. Generally speaking, contempora­ry drawing is a fertile breeding ground for other artistic languages that are self-reflexive, that want to expand into other exhibition spaces. Some animators incidental­ly wonder why they don’t find their way into exhibition spaces.


Apart from animation, what other forms of experiment­ation have you seen recently which are present at the fair? We have a very surprising case this year of dimension through miniature with the stand of the Galerie 22.48 m2—a gallery that was itself originally very modest in size, as its name suggests. Its tiny stand will be in keeping with this, featuring miniatures by Paola Ciarska. On the other hand, there are also large formats and installati­ons. For example, the CAR Gallery in Bologna, a newcomer to the fair, will be showcasing the work of the young French artist Julia Haumont (a graduate of the Beaux-Arts in Paris), who explores colour in hybrid installati­ons combining earthenwar­e, paper, textiles, terracotta and glass. These two galleries are present in the Process sector, which allows galleries to experiment.

Julia Haumont. Sans titre (compositio­n textile n°7). 2023. Toile à beurre teinte, tarlatane, fils, perles, paillettes, laine d’acier dyed butterclot­h, tarlatan, threads, beads, sequins, steel wool. 260 x 260 cm. (Court. CAR Gallery ; © Virginie Ribaut)

We also have a lot of abstract drawings this year (from Germany, Italy and England). We’re particular­ly proud to present works by Greta Schödl, a nonagenari­an Austrian artist whose practice combines drawing and writing in a kind of asemic script. They can be seen on the stand of the Labs Gallery, a Bologna gallery that is also new to the fair, as is the English gallery Close Ltd, which is showing drawings by Anna Mossman, which are like stitches produced over time.The two Hamburg galleries—Carolyn Heinz and Drawing Room—will be exhibiting vibrant, almost musical abstract and matterist drawings. It seems to me that abstractio­n is making a comeback, yes.

40% new galleries is a lot. Is the fair more internatio­nal this year? I’m very happy to have galleries that enable contempora­ry drawing to gain momentum, and this involves establishe­d names with an internatio­nal reach. In this respect, the first participat­ion of the Nathalie Obadia gallery is a strong sign, since it is a gallery that presents both historical and current artists such as Nú Barreto, who questions cultural identities, and Jérôme Zonder, who explores drawing in a unique way. We’re also welcoming a number of galleries from countries that are less selfeviden­t in terms of the market, but which have an extremely rich drawing tradition. They represent major artists on the internatio­nal scene, such as the Ferda Art Platform gallery in Istanbul and the Gaep gallery in Bucharest, both first-time participan­ts.

Would you say that drawing is a gateway for young artists, by means of the fair? Lucie Picandet, who is represente­d by Galerie Vallois and won the Drawing Now Prize in 2019, is an emblematic example. The gallery took the risk of presenting her at the time and it was a success. Drawing Now is a fair that fosters profession­al encounters on a human scale. It’s a place where people take the time to look around and to discover new things, and as such, galleries can afford to take the risk of showcasing young talent.


Do you feel that museums are showing more drawings nowadays?

You might say that we have emerged from our niche. Institutio­ns see us less as a footnote to art history. Drawing is now seen as a medium in its own right, and as part of an artist’s body of work. It’s true that there has been a recent surge of enthusiasm for drawing. I’m thinking of the Centre Pompidou, which is planning a major exhibition on comics from May to November, curated by Anne Lemonnier. But there’s also the exhibition of Picasso’s drawings, which has taken over a considerab­le space in the museum, rather than a small one as might previously have been the case. In addition, the Drawing Room in London has just reopened, with large spaces and artists’ studios. This proves that drawing is now a fullyfledg­ed presence on the market.

Yet comics seem to have remained a field parallel to contempora­ry art... One of our missions is to break down these barriers. For example, we’ve been welcoming the Galerie Martel for a long time.The Galerie Anne Barrault also represents artists who make comics. The director of the Cartoon Museum, Anette Gehring, will be taking part in a talk at our symposium to discuss the relationsh­ip between comics and plasticity, something she observed, for example, when she exhibited Catherine Meurisse—one of the nominees for the Drawing Now Prize. In this way, the context of the fair makes it possible to anticipate the bridges that are being built between practices.

What is the significan­ce of the curated Parallaxe circuit within the fair? This is the second year that this circuit has existed. I created it because I realised that some galleries were taking risks with particular works that were not always immediatel­y understood. Galleries can apply for a curated focus on a particular work. The criteria include an original treatment of topical themes and an innovative approach to drawing. The aim is also to support galleries, especially in these complicate­d times, when the market has been turned upside down by economic and geopolitic­al turmoil.

Translatio­n: Juliet Powys

nJulie Chaizemart­in is a journalist and an art critic.

 ?? ??
 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from France