|'Punos / Vine', pencil on paper. Iida Kauppinen 2015|
As for one fiddling with a pen constantly and doodling when time and peace of mind both allow it, it was only natural for me to take a look at the small exhibition that this lady has put up here in Helsinki. For those who have been following this blog, the said lady is a familiar acquaintance, for she has been putting up some exhibitions of her own quite frequently and even had time to make a collaborative exhibition with yours truly a couple of summers ago. Only this time, though, and I do blame her for this a bit, I'll sharpen my pen and give a small insight on the conversations that we've had over the years regarding the act, the purpose and the status of drawing in the art scene.
In essence, we both are artists who are inexplicably passionate about the act of drawing, no matter what the drawing surface is at that moment, and who enjoy experimenting from time to time. On the other hand, it takes more than just the fingers of two hands to count our differences, but that's what makes it all interesting and worth analysing for a moment. Some of you may have already realized that our way to draw and create an image differ quite a lot, for I do envy Iida for reaching such vibrant and organic dynamics in her works, her line twirling, chopping, curling into itself and also flowing quite freely, uninhibited if I may say, on the paper both in her prints as well as in her drawings. As the opposite, my lines tend to go towards the technical drawings, sleek and almost cold with their impression, hard-edged and controlled. This doesn't mean that we wouldn't be able to try out and enhance the drawing styles from one another, but just merely stating the initial differences that our lines have when compared to each other. We enjoy our own drawing gestures as much as we like to try out new things on paper, no matter if it's about a wish to broaden our skills or just doodling away. Both means and goals are necessary when dealing with the drawn lines and furthermore stepping over them.
However, we do have similarities in our ways of working. Iida mentions when writing about her newest works that for her, drawing is a means to stop and think, to slow down and practice the sense of presence in this hectic world of fast, faster and fastest. It is something that many drawing artists note and share with others, as it is also something that becomes apparent in the art of shibari, where the whole situation stops at its best the moment when the rope touches the other person and the first knot is tied. It is the same with drawing the first line (or smudge, or twirl) and then immersing into the flow of hand, the effort put on the work, even the feel of paper against the tip of the pen or the flat of the charcoal. It is the verbalisation of a thought, an actualisation of the inner vision, as Iida, and many others (like Deanna Petherbridge and William Kentridge), have noted. One could argue what with Rudolf Laban's idea of the Möbius ring, where inner and outer tensions have a constant dialogue between them, so does the drawing artist negotiate the outlook of their visions with the chosen methods to draw them visible to others: yet, the very tension is something that travels not only between the pen, the paper and the hand, but throughout the very being of the drawer, starting with the flexing muscles of the hand to the shoulders, the upper body, even the legs (especially when working with the whole body and not just sitting), as well as the shift between the presence of mind both in the reality and the inside of one's mind.
|Notes from working with the thesis. The quotation is from Dick McCaw's 'The Laban Sourcebook', 2011.|
These occasional revelations are what seem to currently push Iida to express herself with pen and paper, or marker and mylar, as she is seeing the weight that drawing carries as an art form rather than just acting as the means to merely sketch the final product before being put aside when the more 'appropriate' materials are brought into the process.
So, how well has she verbalised herself with her current exhibition, I found myself asking. The display of the works does carry her trademark of not framing the pieces but just hanging them as they are, plain paper in this case, which I'm glad to note working very well. It is always interesting to follow how one's peers develop their skills, pick up new styles, discard old ones and also merge them together in some cases - yet it was very odd to realize that to me, her works didn't articulate themselves as 'final' products of her thoughts and intentions, but more as a focus redefining itself as it shifts through a phase between the figurative and abstract - an equation that she has been working with for quite some time now. The drawings present a nice ensemble on what her line is about right now, but I'm already wishing to see where she is heading with it, what is the direction her pen is taking at this moment. Truth to be told, after seeing so many of her prints and also working next to her evolving 'handwriting' when it comes to art, it was a bit unnerving experience to find myself suddenly lacking the presence of the exact line that I had learned to associate with her works. For that I am pleased, as it means that her pen, along with her thoughts, isn't stopping anytime soon.
|Three details from the work called 'Purkaus / Eruption'. Iida Kauppinen 2015|