The Drawing Room is the only public gallery in the UK and Europe dedicated to the investigation and presentation of international contemporary drawing. The Drawing Room produces exhibitions, artist-led projects, talks and publications that provide opportunities for artists, across nationalities, generations and cultures, to develop their practice. The visionary programme is widely disseminated via the web, exhibition tours and the international distribution of publications.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Journeying to new spaces

Mateo López, Nowhere Man,2011, Mixed media installation,
Overall display dimensions 190 x 320 x 281cm

Last month saw the opening of The Peripatetic School: Itinerant Drawing from Latin America. The exhibition, guest curated by Tate Modern curator of International Art Tanya Barson, presents the work of artists from across Latin America who share an engagement with the landscape, whether urban or rural. Works such as Nicolás Paris’ Hurry Slowly and those featured by Ishmael Randall Weeks, André Komatsu, and the collaborative works of Raimond Chaves and Gilda Mantilla, explore notions of discovery through travel and movement. Tony Cruz’s Distance Drawing San Juan/London, an attempt to draw the distance from San Juan to London (6,751.2362m). Realised only 0.0031890 percent (2,153m), and Mateo López’s Nowhere Man, engage with the relationship between the home and foreign lands, while Brígida Baltar creates beautiful and ephemeral works from the roots of her home country of Brazil, using soil as her drawing material.

The themes explored in The Peripatetic School are particularly apt for Drawing Room’s inaugural exhibition at its new Bermondsey location, as the gallery itself has been in the process of moving and establishing roots in this new cultural quarter of London. This week, Mateo López has been leading workshops with students from Southwark College, and the exhibition has received great feedback from local visitors. Furthermore, with White Cube soon to be opening just around the corner, Drawing Room’s new home is sure to be a hub of artistic activity. Check out our mention in The Art Newspaper and The Guardian this week.

In addition to organising workshops with a local college, Drawing Room held a well-attended conference in collaboration with TrAIN (University of the Arts Research Centre for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation) last week. Guests including Moacir dos Anjos, Christian Rattemeyer, and Ellen Gallagher, spoke on the subject of Travelling Lines: Drawing as an Itinerant Practice. Lively discussions took place around themes and issues such as the link between itinerancy and drawing, the sense of place in Latin American art, and questions about what it means to be a ‘Latin American’ artist. In addition, the conference gave eight of the artists participating in the exhibition the chance to discuss and answer questions about their work. A healthy rapport and exchange between speakers and members of the audience further served to add to the success of the discussions, which will be available to listen to online shortly.

The Peripatetic School is open until 12 November 2011, Tuesday – Saturday 12-6pm.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011


The Hayward Gallery’s exhibition of the summer, ‘Tracey Emin: Love is What You Want,’ represents a vibrant display of the YBA’s oeuvre to date. The highly personal, and often-narcissistic work of Emin makes use of a vast array of differing mediums: from video to fabric works, and neons to outdoor sculptures. Drawing, however, is the medium that lies at the root of the artist’s practice, and this is reflected in the exhibition itself, with one wall label proclaiming that:
‘Tracey Emin refers to drawing as the backbone of her art. She became entranced with drawing when she first began to study art and it has remained her most enduring and consistent medium ever since.’
Indeed, many of Emin’s tapestries, light-works, and paintings that are displayed over the Hayward’s two floors, utilise flowing outlines that mimic the fluidity and spontaneity that one might associate with a quickly drawn sketch in graphite or ink. The neon work Blinding (2000), for example, almost looks as though the upside-down torso and legs of a female nude have been hastily drawn in light against a dark background; an image akin to the pictures that children trace in the air with sparklers at fireworks displays.
The top floor of the exhibition features a considerable number of monograph prints: a technique that Emin describes as ‘drawing in reverse.’ In one corner of the upper gallery these monographs are displayed in a cluster, the individual voices of each work jostling against each other to be heard. This curatorial decision highlights both the urgency and the overwhelming volume of Emin’s drawings. Furthermore, a large-scale animated drawing projected onto one wall emphasises the dynamism of Emin’s drawing, as the image of a female body is literally given movement as it flits randomly across the screen.
As an ambitious and comprehensive exhibition that showcases the importance of drawing in the practice of one of the biggest names in the UK’s contemporary art scene, a visit to the Hayward this summer is highly recommended for Tracey Emin’s lovers, fans, and critics alike.