On the ’transcultural’
Alice Dittmar - A + B: Context and Method
In A, a cycle of six drawings, I reflect on the ’transcultural’.
I don ́t differentiate much between linear drawing and writing. Writing / text is part of my artistic practice.
Drawing 1
Context: This drawing shows ’my train of thought’ (actually written on a train, a moving vehicle, moving me and my thoughts on 07.05.2012). Locating ’myself’ in relation to ’others’ and ’things’ in my environment,
a specific (cultural) location / landscape* in time / space, I draw / open up an interrelated field - a circle in which the relation between subject and object is blurred (animism). ’I’, ’others’ and ’things’ form part of history, and that these histories occur faster and simultaneously is part of our contemporaneity. *landscape,inmyunderstanding: 1.particularsurrounding,environmentincludingsociala.culturalfabric
2. metaphor for 'ornament'
Method: The thought was sketched on the train, the drawing, as you see it, is hand-drawn in the studio.
Drawing 2
Context: This drawing relates to 1 and 4.
Moving between cultures, I found overlapping aspects. In this interstice between ’me’ and ’the other’, there exists a ’grey zone’ that is energetic, pending, constantly moving. This relation is an ongoing discourse. It is negotiable up to a certain point at which I have to let it be and accept ’the other’.
Method: First I folded the A4 paper once horizontally and twice diagonally (right corner to the left margin and left corner to the right margin of the rectangular paper) in order to detect a quadrat and locate a centre for my circle. Then I hand-drew three circles and marked the interstice - where the outer circle meets the inner and / or overlaps with it - with a serpentine line.
Drawing 3
Context: This drawing shows the space we move through. There is me and others and ’I’ am part of ’us’. ’Matter’ is the soil / earth we stand on and ’meta’ stands for meta level or sphere / thought / universe.
Method: I hand-drew the two lines by subsequently resting and moving my hand / arm along the edge of the A4 paper (and the writing pad below). These two lines function as a template for drawings 4, 5 and 6.
Drawing 4
Context: This drawing reveals (in words) how the ’transcultural’ forms. It explains / stretches drawing 2.
Method: Standing on a window, I trace the two lines of drawing 3 onto 4.
I measure regular distances for a serpentine line and hand-draw it in the space between the two lines. By drawing I not only define the in-between space but also connect the two lines: ’cultural differences’ and ’intercultural similarities’.
Drawing 5
Context: This drawing refers to drawing 3, but the words are replaced.
Here I consider / include the idea of the mystical and the romantic.The separating lines between the earthly, body and thought sphere are now perforated / blurred. The body sphere is described by adjectives and the thought sphere is described or supplemented by‚ the (Western) sublime and (Eastern) empty.
Method: Standing on a window, I trace the two lines of drawing 3 onto 5, but I leave gaps, so that the content of one sphere can filter through and inform the other spheres.
Drawing 6
Context: Drawing 6 refers to drawings 3, 4 and 5. It describes (in words) the characteristics or qualities of the spheres.
Method: Standing on a window, I trace the two lines of drawing 3 onto 6 and replace the words / meaning. Finally I overlay drawing 6 over 2, so they may converge (in the light).
B: visual approximation of ’transcultural’ in the form of an ’ornamental drawing’.
In B my experiences, knowledge, technical skills, artistic attitude, etc. serve as the backdrop of the work.
In the process of drawing, I try to get rid of the ’weight of thought’ and instead focus on what the material offers: I try to listen and feel the relation between my body and the paper format. By doing repetitive work I try to empty my mind.
In my particular drawing style, filling a format with tiny ballpoint pen strokes of the same size, I generate a micro-ornament and imprint the paper though my micro-movement.
In a way drawing is like moving, a constant reflection. I can define different stages in which I am oscillating between thinking and not thinking, tension and relaxation.
Using the finest Chinese papers as a carrier for my drawings is part of a silent communication with the other culture. Combining these materials - delicate cultural vehicles - with my (Western) ballpoint pen Stroke Play / Stricheln, gives rise to hybrids, appropriating elements of both cultures; recognisable to both sides. My work concerns sensibility, assimilation and mimesis rather than superimposing dominant cultural or artistic values.
Sometimes I use language - written text as in A in combination with linear drawing - to clarify my thoughts on a topic. Then I use language to link the different aspects of my work and/or to describes the (cultural) field in which it was produced. I also used writing as ductus in a drawing. However, B is silent. I provide a title and apart from the material, technique and size, I indicate the location and date of production.
Alice Dittmar