Connecting Form and Space
Connecting Form and Space investigates the spatial possibilities of a particular drawing method. It seeks to emphasise the relationship between absence and presence, and aims to focus on the tactile and formal qualities of materials and objects. The drawing method under examination consists of a series of physical interventions. Fragments of old mirror and glass from second-hand tabletops – often large, heavy and fragile – were carefully placed on drawing paper and subsequently traced with a pencil. The overlapping of the tracings resulted in new formal relations, but it was not always possible to anticipate what the impact of the new form would be on the previous tracings.
A research project was set up in which a ten-metre-long drawing of partly overlapping tracings was used to connect to the space of my studio. It was laid out on worktables across the three rooms of my studio on a structure of hardboard sheets. When the mirrors and glass tabletops were placed on drawing paper, they sometimes left marks and traces of dirt on the paper. In certain areas, the sharpness of the edges of the objects determined the quality of the pencil line.
A reference to the scale of the human body, which is present by design in the mirrors, can be recognised in the proportions of the tracings. In an attempt to connect the drawing to the space, a couple of mirrors were again positioned on the tracings and partly traced with a cutter. When cutting out forms from the drawing, the hardboard appeared through the paper. When cutting further across the hardboard, hints of the surfaces of the supporting worktables became visible along with glimpses of the studio floor. The connection to space occurred through the formal qualities of the drawing itself. The holes functioned as frames, in the sense that there was a graphical quality in the perception of these fragments. The fragmented view articulated the materiality and the forms under the table. A selection of tables, objects and sculptures present in my studio was used to compose the views of the different holes in the drawing, with the intention of accentuating the essences of their spatial and material qualities.
Through and Through
Edition in collaboration with Kristien Daem (ed. 125) Published by AraMER, Ghent, BE
In the photographic reproductions of the project, I identified the importance of the line. The lines are more present because of the contrast with the white paper and with the views through the cut-out forms. On the one hand, the curved forms of the lines possess a decorative and graphical quality; the lines are not so many, which makes the fluid forms are more visible. But, on the other hand, the thickness and hardness of the lines give them a material presence. They look like bent metal wire hanging in space. The white drawing paper gives the lines a spatial dimension. I consider the tracings and cuttings as sculptural acts in the mental white space of the paper. Somehow, the drawing and the views through the holes have the character of a spatial construction.
Because of the framing quality of the photographic reproductions, the mental space that I connect to the white drawing paper becomes even more visible. The tracing act on the white paper defines the space of the paper. With the act of cutting into the white paper, I went from one ‘mental’ space into another space, namely from the paper to the studio space. From there, a dialogue between immaterial and material, presence and absence, full and empty, took place. The holes in the paper functioned like windows connecting different worlds.
On Connecting Form and Space
I explored the three-dimensional and sculptural possibilities of the tracing drawings, where the (overlapping) forms of the tracings are materialised into sculptural objects.
The tracings are an in-between stage in the process of making sculpture with the ordinary objects. They allow me to see the ordinary objects on an abstracted and formal level. The transformative process into three dimensions is about investigating new sizes, materials functions. In these spatial objects, the sizes and forms of the ordinary objects are still present as an echo.
For example I made some plaster forms in a similar way to how I made the tracing drawings. This time, however, I placed some mirrors on a bed of clay and traced the forms by cutting though the layer of clay with a wooden stick. I created a void by carving clay away, and then poured plaster into it.
The plaster tiles are, in a way, drawings in three dimensions and could be interpreted as materialised voids. When placed on the tracing drawings again, these forms bear a direct visual relation to the type of forms on the paper. They interact with the line, but also with the spatiality of the cut-out forms. When different forms are stacked on top of each other, there is a new spatial and sculptural reading due to the curved forms and the shadows on the white plaster that in a way recall architectural forms.