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Workshop Tilo Reifenstein



von 14:00 bis 15:00




Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Vortragssaal Raum 242, II. OG, Katharina-von-Bora-Straße 10, 80333 München

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Beyond Blank: Considering Paper through Raymond Pettibon’s and Michaël Borremans’ Drawing-Writing

What do we see when we look at writing? Especially, when this writing occupies the same material space as an adjacent drawing. Although both writing and drawing share the traits of graphic mark-making, there persists a legibility-visibility dichotomy that seemingly permits the viewer to look through the physical qualities of ink on paper as writing to discover some verbal content ‘behind’ the graphic stroke, rendering the mark itself transparent or invisible. In contrast, the drawn mark appears inseparable from its papery body, every stroke caught up in its own material(ity).

This workshop paper aims to explore this difference through drawing’s and writing’s shared substrate, paper, and the work of Michaël Borremans and Raymond Pettibon. Recognised as shifting between submissive substrate and controlling dominium, paper is here both: a membrane whose subservient surface—mere ground—is energised by being acted upon, by being traversed, engraved, inscribed, penetrated and, at the same time, an authoritative director of its own traversal.

Historically ubiquitous metaphorical uses of paper as a landscape (to be explored with the graphite heel of the pencil) or a female body (to be marked, inscribed, described, impressed with the brand of the author) are invoked to consider their import on the understanding of paper as im/material. Questioning the very idea of a substrate that lies underneath, the paper equally seeks to reject the notional state of blankness—white and void—and shows these conceptions to be irredeemably bound up in an ideality of paper.

Tilo Reifenstein