introduction to Drawing Texts.
The modest aim of this anthology is to gather together in one volume a number of different ideas and opinions on the activity of drawing – from ‘inside practitioners’, who actually make drawings, and from ‘outside commentators’ who might write about, curate, or criticize it.
When the contributors were initially approached to write a text, no one knew who else was writing, or what specifically anybody else was writing about. They were on their own. It was hoped that this collective ‘blind mapping’ would in some way allow for the opening up of the terrain of drawing for further exploration – that, like a map, text by text, a picture of drawing would unfold (albeit a fundamentally incompleteable one) to reach to wherever it would.
The anthology has fifty-three texts from fifty-one contributors. The texts range from speculative reflection to historical account, from the idiosyncratically anecdotal to the formally academic. As the reader moves from piece to piece (not necessarily sequentially) he/she will move into different depths and be taken in different directions, such is the nature (and perhaps the excitement) of anthologies. It is a book of distinct and individual voices, a compendium of jostling fragments. Some of the pieces are like spontaneous first thoughts, others are more the result of a long-considered questioning – but in their own ways, all contribute something to the picture.
The texts are loosely organized – many resisted being categorized neatly into one box or another. Broadly, the first section is concerned with general ideas and observations on drawing, including artists’ statements on their own practice (texts 1 – 40), this is followed by five historically based essays (41 – 45), then by four that examine drawing and language (46 – 49), leading to a final four that ask about drawing in education. None of these loose groupings is hermetic; there are wormholes in all of the texts that would lead you directly into other texts, regardless of the present arrangement.
Dig through these fragments and mine the ideas that interest you – make more ideas with them – and against them. The value of this book lies in what happens next.