It is with great pleasure that MLF | MARIE-LAURE FLEISCH announces the exhibition Drawing Praxis, which presents the works and interventions by four artists: Nikolaus Gansterer, Katharina Hinsberg, Alain Huck, and Andrea Mastrovito. Rather than a common theme, what unites these artists is drawing – the technique at the core of their research– represented in diverse declinations such as performance, installation, and animation.
Drawing is not only the oldest technique, but also the most intimate and direct form of artistic expression. From the very origins of our culture, the graphic sign has been the most immediate representation of our thought; it has developed through time, becoming flexible and adaptable by taking advantage of the apparition of new contexts. The fragmentation and the contamination between different genres, characteristic of the present day, has created a fertile terrain for drawing to be transposed from its traditional support and to be expressed fully through more unconventional techniques and mediums. This exhibition proposes four different approaches, which include the lines drawn by Alain Huck, which free themselves from their paper support to invade the surrounding spaces in Katharina Hinsberg's installation; the line is then transformed into action through Nikolaus Gansterer's maps and diagrams, and, finally, it becomes alive in the video work of Andrea Mastrovito.
Alain Huck's compositions are presented as large windows opening onto a black and white world; a sterile and desolate land in which a profound state of anguish is reflected. For the exhibition, the artist has created two large format charcoal drawings on paper. With its dense, opaque sootiness, this material is ideal to express the sense of emptiness and uneasiness of the artist’s landscapes, in which plant lifeforms are caught up in impenetrable labyrinths. Gloomy and ashen, his scenes are visions of a world in decomposition, which conserve signs of mankind, whose desire for domination has resulted in ecological disasters, wars and a disfigured panorama. Complex and vulnerable architectural forms, through literary and cinematographic references, pose metaphorical questions about the world that surrounds us.
For Katharina Hinsberg, drawing is a means of conceptual exploration, a systematic reflection on the very act of drawing which is manifested through a diverse creative process. She experiments with the various possibilities of the graphic form, which then acquires physical volume, interacting with the surrounding architecture through a detailed work of incision, punching and scoring. For this exhibition, Hinsberg has conceived a site-specific installation out of tissue paper and staples where patterns are created by planes of colours rather than by drawn lines. No imagination nor description is needed as the viewer is free to interpret the sequences and intervals freely, creating mental associations through a series of fleeting forms.
In the work of Nikolaus Gansterer, the processes of thought, action and drawing are indissolubly interconnected and complementary. A flow of consciousness is transformed into gestures, interactions with objects, drawings, and formulae. His works represent a manifestation of syncretism between art and science, culture and nature, which aims to investigate their intrinsic connections by penetrating beyond the imaginary threshold that divides them. For Gansterer, the gallery space becomes an arena for experimentation, where drawing is the result of a complex thought process that is developed and concretised through a series of performative actions. The aim is to create a conceptual representation of a mental mechanism in constant evolution. Graphs, blackboards, diagrams, maps and systems of signs, which apparently reference scientific theories, all become traces of their very existence, an ephemeral testimony which opens onto a horizon of hypothesis.
Andrea Mastrovito has developed an interdisciplinary and transversal research strategy, reinventing drawing in dialogue with the exhibition space. Using innovative techniques, he was first known for his technique of superimposing cut-out and painted forms on canvas; he then progressed into a more three-dimensional environment, invading space with a proliferation of two dimensional figures. In 2007 he started experimenting with animation, creating the video work Robespierre, which is shown in this exhibition. This work is part of the series Manuale per giovani artisti, 22 self-portraits in which the artist portrays himself as Saint Francis in the act of performing senseless miracles. The work is inspired by the Greek myth Pygmalion and the theory of the philosopher Slavoj Žižek regarding the dynamics of construction – destruction which gives rise to the birth of a society. A pencil appears on the screen and starts to draw; a body takes form and delineates the figure of the artist which, when completed, takes hold of the pastel, breaks it and throws it into a jar. The creature is thus liberated from its creator by abandoning him. In the same way, the French Revolutionists liberated themselves from Robespierre, who was their former leader.
The themes of the shown works are varied, ranging from political-social reflexions and the observation of natural phenomena, to personal experiences with reference to cultural and historical events; they explore the condition of the production of drawing, its temporal aspects and the confines of the very technique.