Up Next: Art on Paper 2018
What does drawing mean in the 21st century? The contemporary drawing fair Art on Paper, Brussels, explores this question from september 6-9
Starting with the most simple of tools–a pencil and paper–Art on Paper invites you to explore the exploded idea of what drawing is. The act of drawing can be dated back over 35,000 years with cave drawings and, further still, with drawings that vanished with a gust of wind or a tide that were sketched into sand or dirt with a finger. These drawings were done to educate, show directions, celebrate or express. As the world has shifted and changed, this contemporary drawing fair asks what now does it mean to be a drawer?
With double the space in the fairs new venue for 2018–the Bozar ‘Ravenstein Circuit’–there is an extended program that seeks to examine and demonstrate answers to this question. Marie Cantos, the new artistic director of the five-day event, explains that “Art on Paper is not a cabinet of drawings, it is a show where we question the medium where we invite artists who question the limits, or play with it.”
The premise of the event is simple. 50 artists, represented by 50 galleries come together to celebrate drawing in one space. However, to get to these 50 exhibitors there is a selection process which involves choosing works from hundreds of applicants with an aim to demonstrate the diversity of contemporary drawing. Key artists such as Anne-Marie Schneider and Tadashi Kawamata will be shown alongside less-established practitioners. For the first time this year, there will be a section devoted to young artists and galleries, giving them a chance to grow and gain recognition whilst sharing their interpretations of the craft of drawing. Furthermore, after last years introduction of artists from Korea and Japan, the geographical expansion of Art on Paper continues this year with a distinctly South American feel. There will be exhibitors from Mexico, Argentina and Columbia.
“I am positively honored to be participating in an event that focuses so intently upon artists creating paper-based work. I have always maintained a strong sensitivity to paper. I enjoy the direct contact with it. It’s a beautiful experience to be able to work with certain fragile papers – from Japan, for example, or hand-made Indian papers. A white piece of paper gives me a feeling of complete freedom, where there is almost a feeling to free-float into space through time, where nothing is fixed and all is still possible” says Hilton.
The body of work Hilton will display revolves around her research and reflections into Chinese dreamstones. “In China, the ability to recognize possible forms in the involuntary drawings of marble surfaces was regarded as an exercise comparable to every other aesthetic expression. Sometimes the stones seem to be painted with a rocky landscape or a transient skyscape. They can be used as a tool to provoke reverie and deeper contemplation.” Leaving the work unframed in their most natural and raw state Hilton describes the journey a visitor will take: “the viewers gaze will drift from cloudy pastels, into the depths of deep watercolors and then on towards sedimentary surfaces of stone fragments. The works should encourage the viewer to engage, to dream, to contemplate, if only for a moment.”
Accompanying the main exhibition is the program SIDE PROJECTS. As the title suggests this new addition to the fair will be a series of different events and exhibitions that tackle drawing in an expanded form. A notable participant of this is Clarissa Baumann, a young Brazilian artist who will produce an audio-visual installation entitled Dessin. The choreographic installation will explore the invisible. With no pre-composed music, the artist will draw out the soundtrack through the performance itself and it will be transformed primarily into a sound artwork. The artist will draw on the walls of the darkened galleries, however, the visitors will only feel the work through the sounds, gestures, and movements of Baumann–a breath, the friction of chalk on wall, footsteps. Questioning the hierarchy of visible drawing and audible drawing.
In its fourth edition, the shows internationally growing reputation investigates the many possibilities that can take form when someone picks up their tools, whether pencil, paintbrush, body or sound, and starts to draw.
Art on Paper runs from September 6-9
Cover image: Amy Hilton and works from her Dreamstones series