Over the summer I was interviewed by Amy E. Brown for Curating the Contemporary, an online platform for art writing and criticism she edits with Alejandro Ball, Caterina Berardi and Miriam La Rosa. The interview was published this week and is available to read here; an extract is opposite.
We discussed the effect of writing upon its object and the related consequences of giving artworks titles; questions we considered in the context of two fairly recent artworks of mine: Line (2009-12) and olololo (2012). The interview took place following a seminar I gave at the London Metropolitan University for the MA Curating the Contemporary module ‘Writing about Art’, and many of the references mentioned came up in the seminar: these are detailed at the foot of the interview.
Line, 2012. (biro line to Anton sleeping)
AB: Do you believe that writing and drawing are one and the same? Or entirely separate entities?
TN: They pertain to very distinct modes of representation. All the same they share sufficient formal and conceptual coincidences to make interplay between the two interesting and worthwhile.
AB: Your book, olololo, on first appearance seems to be all about the pencil or pen in hand but is instead all about the actions of the hand that moves the pages of the book. Is this drawing?
TN: I would describe it as drawing, yes. But I’d also want to keep in mind the multiple meanings of the word. In the same way that the line on the bed sheet finally turned out to be a tethering or drawing-together rather than a drawn line, I think olololo conflates the act of drawing with the act of drawing pages away about the central pivot. Each page needs careful drawing away from its original position by one hand as the other hand keeps the ground steady by holding the tip of the pencil still against the page. It’s an invitation to imagine the process of drawing from the perspective of the tip of the pencil—lines spooling outwards from a static point—rather than from the perspective of the finished drawing.
AB: Is the dot, like Line, a record of the actions you performed?
TN: I don’t think Line is exactly a record of actions performed, but I think you’re right about the dot. Generally in drawing, the array of marks on the page is more or less a record of the actions performed to produce it. But in olololo the action that marks the page is the one performed by the static pencil while drawing (drawing-away) goes on around it. Meanwhile the dot is only revealed once all the other pages have been drawn away, so it appears as the conclusion of all the complicated manoeuvres it took to get there. A full stop.