Project 3: Installation Research

Installative drawings seem to either be very large in scale and demand the viewer imerse themselves in the work, or bridge the gap between drawing and sculpture by extending line from the flat plane of a 2D drawing into 3D space.

Installation art as defined by the Tate is “large-scale, mixed-media constructions, often designed for a specific place or for a temporary period of time” (Tate, n.d.). The focus is on the viewer’s experience of the work.

Robert Rauschenberg’s ‘Automobile Tire Print, 1953’ is a long tyre track made by a car driving through a pool of black paint and then along a strip of paper (MoMA.org, 2010). This work is all about scale and the randomness from semi-controlled mark making. I guess as an installation drawing it qualifies by its large size.

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Some similar scale drawings recently viewed in Leeds Art Gallery by Peter Randall-Page ‘Fruiting Bodies, 1990’ show that scale does make a difference. These are large impressive drawings which show energy in the curved lines and look great as a set covering the entire wall. On closer inspection, there is very little variation in mark making on the coiled forms, but they still work. This was the first time I had come across Randall-Page’s drawings and for me they work better than his sculptures which I find too precise and lacking in life.

Alexander Calder produced work using wire which he considered to be three-dimensional line drawing (Calder, 1929). Where the distinction is between sculpture and drawing seems to have been blurred. His ‘A Universe, 1934’ was included in the On Line drawing exhibition (MoMA.org, 2010) when I would consider this more of a sculpture. Despite it being made up of ‘drawn’ lines using wire, it is more of a 3D object. Similarly, the course notes question whether sculptures such as Louise Bourgeois ‘Spider, 1995’ could be argued to be a drawing? I would say that it is only because the spider’s legs are thin like Calder’s use of wire that this is being suggested, make them fatter and I suspect that no such suggestion would be made. I stand in the sculpture camp.

Some 3D works are more in the drawing camp though. Pierrette Bloch’s ‘Fil de crin (Horsehair Line), 1988–1997’ is a drawing in horsehair and nylon, brought forward from the picture plane and responsive to the air movement around it (Enrico, 2011). Eva Hesse extended line from a frame in ‘Hang Up, 1966’ and Edward Krasinski in his installation at the 1970 Tokyo Biennial extended lines out onto the gallery floor.

Installation drawing should therefore either be large in scale so immersing the viewer in the work, or there should be a focus on the environment in which the work is placed and a dialog between the drawing and this.

References

Calder, A. (1929). Statement on wire sculpture. [Manuscript] http://www.calder.org/system/downloads/1929_Jan-Feb.pdf, Calder Foundation archives.

Enrico (2011). Pierrette Bloch Retrospective at Galerie Karsten Greve, Paris. Available at: http://vernissage.tv/2011/01/10/pierrette-bloch-retrospective-at-galerie-karsten-greve-paris/ [Accessed 5 Mar. 2019].

MoMA.org. (2010). On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century. [online] Available at: https://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2010/online/#works/02/49 [Accessed 5 Mar. 2019].

Tate. (n.d.). Installation art – Art Term | Tate. [online] Available at: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/i/installation-art [Accessed 3 Mar. 2019].

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