The title of this exhibition adopts the term ‘drawing’ to mean works that are more various than the standard signification it suggests. The art of drawing is known to one since childhood and it doesn’t seem to take any sophisticated concept, discourse or talent to recognize and interpret a drawing. The discussion around drawing is only getting complicated as artists start to question it and experiment with possible connections between form, content and medium so that drawing may have new notions and weight.
For example, in Indonesia we see the tendency to use the term ‘gambar‘ (meaning ‘drawings’, ‘pictures’) so loosely that it blurs the true meaning and reference, and even distances us from the very realm of drawing. Before the word ‘film’ gained its increasing popularity, the Indonesian word for ‘film’ (‘the cinema’) had been ‘gambar bioskop’ or ‘gambar hidup’ that is – more or less – equivalent with ‘motion pictures’.
The contributing artists to this exhibition are basically ‘drawing artists’. In general, the sense of drawing – with its narrative potency, descriptive representation and certain uses of linear schemes – characterizes or provides fertile soil for their art. Based on that consideration, ‘drawing’ in this exhibition doesn’t signify the standard and rigid meaning of the word; instead, it is meant to refer to the potency of drawing to enrich representations in the visual art while maintaining the main and specific strong expressive points that drawing has.
Generally speaking, drawings restrain from making abstractions so they can escape ideas that are too formal. A drawing offers figures easily recognizable since it invariably recalls images found in real life through representations that keep sending out currents of narrative ideas.
The fluid nature of drawings pleases us as it reminds us, perhaps, of the way children absorb and throw up reality through simple schemes they make. Drawing also stands witness to the most ancient form of ‘speech’ in which the visual was undoubtedly more effective than the verbal, not in terms of conceptual or linguistic sophistication but, rather, for offering a distinct logic in representing things.
The affective potency of drawing is easy for us to absorb; and apparently the experience of viewing a drawing testifies once again the mimetic tendency at the bottom of our experience as human beings.
Our artists at large enjoy practicing their drawing; this often seems to be in accord with the narrative impulse that lives on in them, which they ever represent in images; they don’t tend to work at any rigid cognitive or conceptual notions. In drawings, rationality seems to dissolve and become a sort of archaic sensibility to assert modestly the relationship between form and content.
The contributing artists here have sent their drawings that populate their stockrooms. The drawings comprise those based on formal studies, celebrations, ‘playful’ experimentation as well as a sort of the mapping out of more complicated discourses of art. Most of these works are not newly made for this exhibition, excepting those by certain artists invited to present new works so as to encourage questioning and transcending the established notion of drawing as a medium.
It is apparent how the drawings shown here lie in between the artists’ expression and the banal objects such as books, banners, illustrations, envelopes, packages, and embroidery. While the form is easily recognizable, the content is a fragmental idea that is modestly repeated to show how hard it is to regain the continuity between ideas in art and life, between representation and reality.
In that very sense, drawing is rich in characteristics and options. It also appears as pure expression before shifting into a form of art based on some complicated discourse or pretentiously so.