It takes a very different type of artist to make their work in such a public manner, more of a dancer. The work is very physical, and enormously serious in the videos that I watched, like an athlete or someone undergoing a religious ceremony. Where do the finished drawings go? Beautiful though they are there are very few places that could hang them, is the aim to make something that is displayed as a photograph or print?
Whilst doing some general research I came across the body prints of David Hammons This is both similar to the work of the artists above, but also completely different. I've not seen anyone doing anything even remotely similar. Is that because the technique is limited? Hammons prints are like early photographs in smudgy black and white tints. Occasionally simple colour.
Anna Theresa De Keersmaeker concentrates on the dance and performance and her drawings only makes a drawing appear in the sand that is laid beneath almost as an afterthought. Her performance is more lighthearted and there is a childlike quality in the apparent enjoyment. She talks of simple movements and references the way that a child dances. She also feels that the space in which the performance is made changes its nature, the Tate Modern is neither a traditional dark theatre space nor the white sterile canvas of a museum or art gallery. Does Picasso's comment "It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child." apply to dance?
It looked interesting, I had to try it for myself.
My first problem was the size of paper needed. Fortunately son number 2 has just had some bike bits delivered in a big box. It still wasn't big enough but if I contained myself it was ok for an experiment and it had the advantage of being thick enough to use in the back garden without blowing away or rucking up.
I placed the sheets like this and sat in the junction of all three to hold them down.
As a nod to Assignment 3 I played Holst's Mars the Bringer of War though this isn't my work, just an exercise. I felt it was part of getting into the process. It's a lot harder than it looks. You have to work to make both hands follow the same line and you need a clear idea of what movements are acceptable and what aren't otherwise you end up with scribbles as I have here
In my defence the edges of the box did throw me off line at times too but even without them I would not have achieved consistent lines.
This part, the box in front of me, was the best drawing and most like the lines that Tony Orrico and Heather Hansen make.
Using what I learned with my first attempt I turned the boxes over and arranged them around me. I made sweeping strokes keeping my elbows locked and turned on the spot, sitting in the middle. I didn't manage to keep the boxes still for the whole of the drawing and would need to tape them down to be more accurate but I did make a reasonable circle.
I used graphite sticks which weren't the same size. To do this properly it would help to have identical sized mark making materials. I would also need to work on the strength and coordination of my non dominant hand which got quite tired holding the graphite.drawing turning on his knees and turning on the spot which takes up much less space so I tried this with a piece of A1 paper a red coloured pencil and a multicoloured pencil. Neither of the artists seem to use colour and I liked the idea of a sun image made this way.
Soft coloured pencils make nice bold marks but need sharpening regularly
It needed more depth colour so I repeated the exercise over the same drawing using yellow oil pastel. This lead me to wonder about spinning a la Anne Therese De Keersmaeker in the middle of the drawing.
First I tried wedging the oil pastel between my toes.
But it worked better when they were held like this. It's a dodgy exercise in my front room but I made this mark.
Which makes the finished drawing look like a fried egg!
I find this sort of exercise makes me understand the concept so much better. I guess it's why in the past artists were set to copy an old master. I have a greater respect for Tony Orrico and Heather Hansen having done this. It looks simple but it requires planning and discipline to execute successfully especially as a performance. It would be great to try a full drawing lying down on a full sized piece of paper - as long as there was nobody there to film me.