Sculptors' Drawings

Miriam Austin - James Capper - Aleana Egan - Steve Hurtado - Juliana Cerqueira Leite - David Murphy - Elisabeth Wieser

October 22, 2016 - January 26, 2017

Sculptor's Drawings, ALMA ZEVI Venice, installation view

Presenting work by seven international contemporary artists, this exhibition focuses on sculptors who draw, or make works on paper, independently from their sculptural practice. Moreover, these selected drawings are resolved and complete works as opposed to preparatory or technical sketches relating to specific sculptures. This exhibition aims to investigate the relationship between what can often appear to be two very different bodies of work - sculpture vs. drawing – within a single artist’s practice. All the artists in this exhibition identify as sculptors, and yet describe drawing as a very important, not to mention distinct and self-sufficient, part of their output. 

The works exhibited, all made by artists under 40, but hailing from places as diverse as Bolivia, Brazil, England, Germany, Ireland, and the US, bring up these questions: What does it mean to draw as a sculptor? What can we learn from a sculptors’ drawings? How important are sculptor’s drawings to an understanding of their oeuvre as a whole? How do they inform one another? Certainly, it is not just the drawings that inform the sculptures, but also vice versa. 

The drawings of sculptors make us think about the notions of touch and spatial articulation that come to the fore in these works. The overt physicality of sculptors’ drawings, and the manner in which they often depict three-dimensional objects, is a way to access the thought-process behind them. The objects (and architectural elements in the case Aleana Egan, Steve Hurtado and Elisabeth Wieser), depicted in the works exhibited are often positioned on the paper in a way that is ambiguous. Specifically, there is a strong sense of spatial disorientation or destabilization in the works selected here. Indeed, space as positive and negative form is an important concern for sculptors. Space is inextricably connected with sculpture, and is a counterpart to gravity and weight – all of which takes on a different significance when working in two dimensions. 

In this exhibition, many of the artists bring everything to one flat, forefront plane. A certain texture might make the paper appear to spring forward into space; or drawn forms might create a depth of perspective that is very different to how a painter might engage with the actual surface of the paper and with the tradition of Western-style perspective. Connected to this is the idea of ‘all-over composition’, which is used in David Murphy’s drawings, Elisabeth Wieser’s collages, and Juliana Cerqueira Leite’s frottages.

One must also mention that to exhibit drawings in a public space is a relatively modern (eighteenth century) concept particularly those of sculptors. Before then, drawings were destined for private spaces, or used as presentation drawings for a potential donor or patron to see what the artist was proposing; be it a large-scale painting, fresco, sculpture or tomb. One might ask if sculptors have always made drawings independently from their sculpture or if until recently drawing was solely a working tool, now made redundant by technology and photography?  Could the purpose of sculptors’ drawings have changed dramatically since the invention of new technologies, and to a greater extent, the democratization of photography? Which also brings us to the question: How do we understand sculptors’ drawings when they are not displayed side-by-side with sculptures? By showing only drawings in this exhibition, we want to encourage our visitors to see drawings not as illustrations or a means to an end (be it sculpture, painting or anything else), but instead to delve further into the workings of what Catherine de Zegher fittingly describes, when writing on Eva Hesse, as the ‘bifocal mind of both draftsman and sculptor’.

A final point to consider is a recurring, and satisfyingly down-to-earth, opinion expressed by many contemporary sculptors. They have described the act of drawing as relaxing, a retreat into a clean studio, away from heavy lifting, away from technical and engineering problems. In ‘drawing mode’ they can have total freedom and explore fantasies that need never manifest into sculptures. This seems particularly apt in the context of James Capper, whose sculptures can take up to six months to produce and require engineers and very technical components. Or for Miriam Austin and Elisabeth Wieser who create intricate installations that fill entire rooms; or for Juliana Cerqueira Leite whose sculptural process has a performative aspect that pushes her body to its limits. Furthermore, each of the artists in this exhibition works with sculpture on a large and complex scale, so to draw is a totally different physical, conceptual and timely experience. And yet, this experience is in harmony with a way of looking at, and reacting to, the world that is resolutely three-dimensional. Perhaps this is what makes these works so difficult to ‘place’, and what makes them so attractive, though slightly strange. Their form is a drawing, but their content lies between the paper and the space our eyes reach into. 







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Juliana Cerqueira Leite, A Potential Space (left), JT2016 01 (right), 2016.
Sculptor's Drawings, ALMA ZEVI Venice, installation view
Juliana Cerqueira Leite, A potential space, 2016
Juliana Cerqueira Leite, JT2016 01, 2016
Juliana Cerqueira Leite, JT2016 03, 2016
Juliana Cerqueira Leite, JT2016 02, 2016
Aleana Egan, Sculptors' Drawings, ALMA ZEVI Venice, installation view
David Murphy, Window, 2015.
Sculptor's Drawings, ALMA ZEVI Venice, installation view
Aleana Egan, Binets Addition 1, 2011
Aleana Egan, Binets Addition 2, 2011
Aleana Egan, Binets Addition 3, 2011
Aleana Egan, Binets Addition 4, 2011
Aleana Egan, Cable knit drawing, 2011
Aleana Egan, Emptied out and peaceful study, 2015
Aleana Egan, Daybed study, 2015
Alean Egan, Moonface, 2011
Miriam Austin: Sculptors' Drawings, ALMA ZEVI Venice, installation view
Miriam Austin, Prosthetics for Hostile Contexts, 2014
Miriam Austin, Calusari for Beak Breast, 2014
Miriam Austin, Calusari for Beak Breast, 2014
Elisabeth Wieser, Sculptors' Drawings, ALMA ZEVI Venice, installation view
Elisabeth Wieser, Ausstieg #14, 2016
Elisabeth Wieser, Lair, 2016
Elisabeth Wieser, Ausstieg 4, 2016
Elisabeth Wieser, Holiday Home #19, 2015
Elisabeth Wieser, Untitled, 2016
James Capper, SHIP CLIMBER (above), SHIP CLIMBER DETAILS (middle), FROG (below), 2012
James Capper, Sculptors' Drawings, ALMA ZEVI Venice, installation view
James Capper, LOG MITE 2, 2014
James Capper, LOG MITE 1, 2014
James Capper, GRUB BARGE, 2014
James Capper, SHIP CLIMBER, 2012
James Capper, WALKING SHIP FOLDED, 2012
James Capper, TREAD-PAD EXPLODED, 2012
James Capper, FROG, 2012
James Capper, SHIP CLIMBER DETAILS, 2012
Steve Hurtado, (clockwise from left) Twin Plane, 2015; if it is seen, 2016; MI6, 2013; Shoulder Weakness, 2016
Steve Hurtado, Trident College, 2016
Steve Hurtado, Shoulder Weakness, 2016
Steve Hurtado, I see you, 2016
Steve Hurtado, If it is seen, 2016
Steve Hurtado, MI6, 2016
Steve Hurtado, Man Hole, 2013
Steve Hurtado, Twin Plane, 2015
Steve Hurtado, South Gravity, 2015
Steve Hurtado, Telecom, 2013
Steve Hurtado, Telecom, 2013
Steve Hurtado, Ireland, 2011
Elisabeth Wieser, Nox, 2013
Elisabeth Wieser, Tropical Haze, 2015