A Drawing Show
Curated by Louis Ho
Artists : Ian Woo, Wong Lip Chin and Boedi Widjaja, and Bangkok-based Jaitip Jaidee
1 AUGUST - 14 SEPTEMBER 2014
A Drawing Show is an attempt to provide a concise take on the medium in Southeast Asia today, a view of the realities and possibilities of drawing. From pencil-on-paper works, to structural interventions, to conceptual approaches to mark-making, we witness a progressive shift away from the object to the body, from an emphasis on the visual complex to the gestural force that animates it. The show, curated by Louis Ho, features the work of four artists: Singaporeans Ian Woo, Wong Lip Chin and Boedi Widjaja, and Bangkok-based Jaitip Jaidee. Woo, one of Singapore's leading abstractionists, extends his investigation of shape and form into the realm of the graphic, while Wong, whose aesthetic sensibilities are geared towards pop and otaku culture, will produce site-specific drawing installations in the space. The works of Widjaja and Jaidee are premised on an interest in the facts of materiality: Widjaja’s rubbings, produced while on residency in a medieval village in France, are explorations of texture and history, and Jaidee’s drawings on wood represent both a physical and conceptual engagement with the material of her choice.
Text ©Yeo Workshop
YEO WORKSHOP, Gillman Barracks 1 Lock Road 01-01, Singapore
(As at Aug,2014)
Q1(: What does drawing mean to you, personally? A lot of the theoretical discourse around the medium is premised on the fact of the line (as the basic unit), but do you conceive of it differently, in your own way? For instance, to return to the idea of performance – is drawing about the gesture rather than the visual object for you? Or, to raise another example, do you see the ephemerality of the medium – the fact that pencil marks can be erased, but paint and marble etc. are far more permanent – as being fundamental to its practice, discourse etc? Those are just examples, however, feel free to respond with your own ideas )
If I look at my mind, I reckon I am not just drawing which mean I am not only drawing on any material but also looking into it, looking things around myself. Then, I realise that I see and interested in something different from other.
Accordingly, I started drawing something which is not a form of narrative, virtual drawing or even figurative drawing. Once, I have to draw a figure, it is not directly drew to meet a function or represent concrete of object, for example, I do not draw person or house for represent the physical person or the physical house. From my point of view, my works are something like object that has drawing as a complement. Over the time, I have been collected object around me into my working area. Once, I notice something in an object, which might be a sense of myself that want to do something or a term of attractive object. I often use paper with pencil or pen that are likely to fade from elapsed time or distance. I reckon this is the strength of using pen and pencil even if it could gradually disappear since, indeed, everything will fade away even feeling of people.
“Feeling” is an difficult abstract to understand. We do not see what is it like. We can only define it with words or sometimes words have to be there to explain it but it could not be a tangible thing as well. Berger said that “Seeing comes before word. The child looks and recoqnizes before it can speak” (1972: p.7) This show that there has a gap between words and visible and invisible things. I am quite often interested in abstract story of hard to explain like the above sentence that I do not draw visible things or clearly notice (in physical) around me. I do not use drawing picture for that object, e.g. table, chair, dog, scenery or people. I interested in story under the guise of words and imagery. The feeling that we recognise from anything, love that we have to people, the meaning of a lonely feel. Then it is linked to be aware that there has the existences of invisible thing.
All I said before is the preliminary feeling that I use to start working on each art work. It is integrated into the any logic I used like this work series ( At “A Drawing Show” Exhibition). I choose a series that base on empty feeling and silence. I let the feeling still exist, whereas, notion and logic of artist are not put in the series. It can be said that I did not imagine of the finished series, composition of the series. I let creativity happen by things that I used. In other word, I let ink pen control a quality while I was only intermediary to draw lines until there was no ink and no veneer space.
Q2.(Not to begin with unfairly broad questions, but why do you draw (as opposed, perhaps, to painting, sculpting, performing etc.)? If your practice encompasses other mediums in addition to drawing, is there a relationship between those varied aspects of your practice? - e.g. if you paint as well, do you draw as a preliminary means to painting, or does the pencil/crayon possess its own aesthetic authority for you? If you also engage in performance art, is there a performative element to your acts of drawing? )
From the first question that I mentioned about the meaning of my drawing work, I do not only specific use of drawing. I often combine drawing with other technique or material objects. Therefore, the reason of using drawing as a main technique is that I am impressed with materials used in everyday life - paper, pencil and pen. It is something we are familiar with and we continuously used it since childhood. We use paper to write and note our way of life,so paper could be something like a space to create a meaning more than just a plain paper. Our writing create a meaning, characteristic and definition etc. In my opinion, everything has its own unique beauty, not only in term of the meaning or the appearance of thing. Though, I use pencil, crayon, pen, coloured pencil or wherever, it will lead to the express of object’s visualisation all the time. This might be beginning of art work, which comes from my lifestyle.
At the present, I think I usually use drawing technique, which is seen as a two dimension art work, and we see it in one plane. Therefore, I often integrate my drawing with other objects because I want to create an increase awareness in the reality plane (three dimension). For example, I integrated drawing work, which is created on paper dimension or dimension object with woodworking or wooden platform in order to create a dialogue and relationship between the works. The created dimension gradually leads the art work to a linking of necessity and overview of art work installation at the showing area or the gallery space (I assume it as a part of my art work as well). However, I reckon thought and relationship are existed due to the fact that we see and learn things around from other artistic disciplines (painting ,sculpture ,installation art, performance art), designed work, song, architecture or even cooking. All of these lead to perception and our thought directly in some way since, at the end, I think nobody could grow their thought without consuming and understanding the world around them..
Q3. (Is the fact that art history has consistently relegated drawing to a subordinate position – with regards to other mediums – a factor in your practice of it? Does it impact how you view yourself as an artist, or what your practice is? An example: if you are a woman, do you see drawing as a reflection of the continued male domination of the art world? (esp. in Southeast Asia, as well as Asia as a whole). Do you use drawing as a means to making statements, however indirect, on broader themes, e.g. power structures in the social field, in art discourse etc.?)
I would say that It might be only half true. In other words, artwork is like and expression to what we consume and what we like. That is the way of life. We choose a path and an action in preferably way. This point can be used with all moments of life so it is hard to judge whether it is good or bad.
However, if I say about it is a subordinate position in the history of art or not, I would say that the reason of art has so many ways and each way of art has its meaning and interestedness. Drawing might be a subordinate point on an issue that drawing is look alike sketching before using other ways in creative. Drawing could be a fundamental thing before going to the next step so this might be the reason that drawing is being pushed to the subordinate position. Although, the history defines and pushes an existing of hierarchy,which may be because of the period, popularity, social, culture, economy, continuity in the art collection, value creation and many other factors. Each way of art has its own value and beauty, which lead to an acceptance in society. Consequently, this may bring the expression of society, artworks and created a variety.
Q4. How would you define drawing (if one would like to engage in such an exercise)? - Not simply with regards to your own practice of it, but in general. Is it simply the act of putting pencil to surface? What about mediums like ink, or conte crayon etc.? Do those count as drawing? Or is anything that renders a line on a surface admissible within this category? Does this mark have to be materially erasable? Is there a difference between drawing and sketching?
For this question, it depends on a point of view that which direction of drawing you want to be. If we seek for the differentiation between drawing and sketching, it would be a slight disparity to distinguish it apart. Finally, if you want to create something with pencil, pen, coloured pencil or whatever that can write, you can do it and it may be called as a drawing too because a definition of drawing depends on a perception of drawer and viewer. One thing to keep in mind, how much you see and assess what you have done and I see it as the most important thing to do in my daily life not only in artwork.
Q5.In terms of drawing, who are some of the artists who have influenced your own practice? Which aspects of their work have been important for you?
The artist that has a lot of influence on my artwork and my aspect. I would like mention an artist who taught me to think, have a vision, and be aware of work processing. This has greatly influenced me in term of learning and respect for my artwork. When I was studying at the University, I had an opportunity to meet him and he became my advisor later on. He started to teach me with fundamental questions, such as what I like to do, what kind of song you listen to, what movie you like, what your everyday life is and etc. Then he taught me to consider deeply in what I fancy and seeking for the core of liking. Even when I took a photo, he told me to think what is the message from photograph because it is a basic of the expression. This is the major influence that make me more understand myself and, of cause, my artwork as well. He is Chitti Kasemkitvatana and, certainly, I love Chitti’s artwork as well.
Q6. Any last thoughts?
Lastly, it may not totally related to all I mention above but I love one sentence that “what we perceived as a solid, most of them is an empty space as same as we perceive life as a saturated life but, in fact, it found nothing” (Bishop, 2011). Although, It is only one sentence that was spoken by the fictional director. In some aspect, it sparked an interesting on what we see and understanding the world. Indeed, everything is possible and everything could be created from nothing. We give a value, meaning and fulfil the nothingness with our ambitions.
Berger, John (1972) Ways of Seeing. London: Penguin
Bishop, Walter (2011) [Fringe series video]
Artworks in this exhibition
Series : (SILENCE) PROJECT