Idiosyncratic Spaces and Uncertain Practices: Drawing, Drifting and Sweeping Lines Through the Sand

Shepley, Alec (2017) Idiosyncratic Spaces and Uncertain Practices: Drawing, Drifting and Sweeping Lines Through the Sand. In: Drawing Conversations: Collective and Collaborative Drawing in Contemporary Practice. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 164-191. ISBN 1-5275-0347-X

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I am sitting on the doorstep of the hotel side door, thinking of thresholds - marginal spaces that provide the kind of ambiguity I need to practice, to disperse, to encounter, to act – not standing for anything certain but renegotiating a relationship with audience; testing out work that is perhaps not “of art” (Duchamp 1913, 105). I pick up on a kind of creative energy found in such settings as abandoned buildings, building sites, cracks, gutters, vacant lots, wind and dust, clefts and fissures, and the crumbling pavement beneath my feet - they offer a useful metaphor for my (our?) uncertain? state of being. Marcel Broodthaers wrote: "The definition of artistic activity occurs, first of all, in the field of distribution" (Crow, 1996 177). According to Daniel Kunitz (2011 47-52) the lesson of such earlier efforts in the1960’s where art challenged context, is that if you want to disrupt the understanding of what art is, you need to alter how it gets to its audience (see Fig. 7-1) and somehow rupture its first (physical) and second (conceptual) frames (Kosuth, 1977 169-173). This paper explores the nature and characteristics of a kind of ad hoc drawing practice that emerged during a short residency in Delhi in the autumn of 2014, together with an unofficial offshoot of the main residency programme – a sort of escape. I am reflecting on the possibilities of a practice at the interstices between the individual and the collective, between purpose and play – a kind of non-place. This space is not yet a place, or at least if it once was a place, it has somehow lost its place within the master-plan and is slowly falling away from its institutional configuration (see Fig. 7-2). The broader project contextualizes the continued value of drawing as an ad hoc, semi-structured method, alongside the tendencies amongst a number of contemporary artists re-examining the status of the art object and questioning its position as highly valued, unique commodity-component as we enter the Age of the Anthropocene. In order to offer context, the chapter very briefly touches upon artists incorporating their own labour and that of others as the artwork, in relation to traditional forms of object creation for market exchange. The chapter considers the value of ad-hocism and purposeful purposelessness as strategies for developing new approaches to drawing, opening new directions for practice research as an aid to reimaging cultural sites in neglected urban settings such in Delhi (see Fig. 7-3). The chapter reflects upon the nature and value of specifically improvisational drawing and contouring practices which involved street encounters, sweeping and drifting through the city following the cracks, contours and tears within the urban fabric. Reference is made to precedents in art concerning the function of labour within artistic outputs; problematizing the relationship between art and capital; provisionality; the lasting document; and drawing as a social practice.

Item Type: Book Section
Divisions: Creative Arts
Depositing User: Hayley Dennis
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2020 15:07
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2020 15:07

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