‘Never a day without lines’ is a series of exhibitions that takes place in three editions. The point of departure: ‘the drawing’ in its purest form, and with connotative aspect that is intrinsic to autonomous art. De Ketelfactory has invited three artists whose work focuses on the drawing. From early January through early July 2010, works by various visual artists will be shown in three editions. The content, ‘the story’ that the artist wants to tell, is crucial to the shape that the drawing takes and determines what material is used in it. Within the visual arts, the drawing is actually the most ‘vulnerable’ material form that an artist can employ. Here it is not possible for the artist to ‘hide’ behind an impressive and aesthetic use of material. A single line must give shape to a mental picture. The drawing develops, consciously or unconsciously, from an idea or an inner world and then crystallizes on a support, such as paper, canvas or a wall.
Florette Dijkstra has invited Frank Van de Broeck and Marjolijn van den Assem to take part in this Encounter. She reveals interrelationships in Maurice Blanchot’s writing on ‘the memory as muse’ and in the Greek myth concerning Dibutade, in which memory endures in the drawing. In the work of these three artists, there may still be traces of that first drawing, carried out on the Greek stone wall. A line leads to a form, a form can lead to a symbol. A drawing of a waterfall can begin to flow, into the space, or it might return to its source, the sheet of paper.
The Myth of Dibutade
According to Greek mythology, the art of drawing originates with a girl named Dibutade. She has fallen in love with a shepherd boy, who must leave her and go to war. On the day that Dibutade bids him farewell, she draws his silhouette on a wall with a piece of chalk. As she draws, Dibutade is unable to see her lover; she must concentrate on the contour of his shadow, which heralds their parting. Dibutade is left with an outline on the wall. But the drawing shows her nothing: if she looks at the line, she sees no face, and if she looks at the form inside the line, she is confronted with a wall of stone. The drawing does remind her of the absent lover and makes her long to see him again. She will never forget him, since the memory of him lives on in the drawing.
Florette Dijkstra seeks the ’empty spots’ in art history. Regarding art history as an imaginary story that is being told over and over, she attempts to revive the parts that have been forgotten. In order to do so she sometimes spends years travelling in the footsteps of her characters. In drawings, paintings and texts she chronicles her quests. Aside from the long-term projects, she produces drawings about subjects that bear a relationship to visual art and literature, such as a series on the contemplative person. The works deal with reflection, pondering, introspection: that which precedes the creation of a work of art and that which follows it. At De Ketelfactory she is showing a series of drawings depicting the studies of writers and the studios of artists; here she endeavors to portray the both incomprehensible and intangible inspiration that haunts these spaces.
Marjolijn van den Assem
The book ‘Seelenbriefe’ by Marjolijn van den Assem concluded, in 2007, a seven-year project on the representation of correspondence. With the emphasis on a friendship between Marie Baumgartner and Friedrich Nietzsche, she tried to represent, seismographically, the capacity of modes of thought. For the past two years she has been working on a new subject: ‘the language of the thawing-wind’. In the foreword of his book Die fröhliche Wissenschaft Friedrich Nietzsche comes to the conclusion that he is writing ‘in the language of the thawing-wind’. Marjolijn van den Assem records her pursuit of Nietzsche’s footsteps—both literally and figuratively—in drawings, paintings and spatial works of paper or steel sheeting. Her searches bring her to an artificial waterfall in Genoa and to the origin-of-rivers waterfall at Sils Maria. These two waterfalls now constitute the pivot of her investigation. By visually connecting the two places and currents, she hopes to make the ‘language of the thawing-wind’ visible in coming years. Nietzsche’s life and work provide Marjolijn van den Assem with footing and a pretext, from which her work keeps on withdrawing.
Frank Van den Broeck
The drawings of Frank Van den Broeck develop from a line, a smear, an image, a thought. Once it is set down on paper, Frank Van den Broeck gives the pencil room to expand, in each successive line, its singularity, its potential and visual language. Forms evolve from the lines, yet they are never ‘finished’. They always have the option of returning to their source: to the drawing materials or the paper. Emerging from the form is an environment that is defined by the edges of the paper. This is not an actual background, since form and environment are forced to ‘work’ with each other and continually defy boundaries. Contained in this whimsical movement, the form tends to become a symbol, to evoke an associative image, to be reminiscent of a poem.
distillation ‘Be brave/Wees moedig’
Date: 13 June 2010
In collaboration with: Rob Riemen and Carel Blotkamp
“Memory is the muse. He who sings does so from memory, giving others the capacity to remember. The memory, the top of the precipice. The poet speaks as though he remembers, but when he does remember, it is through forgetting.’ (from: Maurice Blanchot. Oublieuse mémoire. Translation into Dutch by Frank Vande Veire)
Rob Riemen about current times and memory
Are we seeing a repetition of recent history in contemporary social and political developments? Rob Riemen, founder and director of the Nexus Institute, Tilburg, and writer of ‘Nobility of the mind’ (2009), delivers a lecture that precedes his new book, ‘The endless return of fascism’.
Carel Blotkamp in conversation about drawing
Carel Blotkamp, art historic and artist, drawing from his own experience as an historic and artist, enters into conversation with the exhibiting artists about their artistry and drawing. What’s so specific about drawing? Where does the inspiration begin? What’s the meaning of the handwriting?
publication (in Dutch)
From the text: “’Forgetful memory’ is the title of a text by French writer Maurice Blanchot. Blanchot is very unknown in The Netherlands, his work has barely been translated. His texts are difficult, but once you read them, you’re drawn in, swallowed up by his words, his language.
Blanchot says: the poet’s poetry and the artist’s images come from somewhere. The poet and the artist don’t invent them; they are already out there somewhere in the world. Memory leads us to them. Poems and images therefore cannot be created ‘anew’. “It’s not the telling that matters, but the retelling. Hearing means having always heard, taking your place in a community of previous listeners, allowing them to be present once more.””