Over the past twelve years I devoted
myself entirely to drawing, making a total of two hundred and twenty drawings.
The present book contains a selection of thirty-nine of them, dating from
the last six years. My work is marked by monomania. Unlike those artists
who from time to time venture to take a new turning, I seem to be the
type of artist who recognizes a small field as his or her domain, to be
explored in depth and detail. In the drawings made during those twelve
years, the main principles remain the same. Changes do not occur in the
form of an abrupt break; instead, they appear as gradual shifts, leaving
the core intact, like landscapes at the turn of the season.
Some of the changes came about in spite of myself. The drawings became
less linear, angular and gauche, and increasingly more modelled with soft-woolly,
silver-grey tones. In that respect, they became more classical, although
drawing in a classical way is not particularly my preference.
The drawings are all done on the same kind of paper and in charcoal or
- when colour is needed - pastel. Wiping and rubbing are occasionally
used as techniques in their own right, just as important as drawing proper.
Traces of earlier positions of heads and limbs are still visible, showing
how the bodies obeyed the choreographer's guiding hand. In all drawings,
the bounds of what is anatomically possible are exceeded. The female body,
which in some of my drawings verges on androgynous, is remodelled into
simple and elegant calligraphy - unnatural yet credible. The guiding principles
in making these drawings are conciseness and reservation. To my feeling,
these principles are not of my own choice; they seem to be dictated by
the drawings themselves. Every drawing contains no more than what is strictly
necessary. Everything that could provide time and space coordinates is
The drawings are decidedly not representations of situations existing
in reality. Rather, they are incarnations of frames of mind. The bodies
are nude but neutral - vehicle rather than flesh. They remain in the domain
of the spirit.
In the older work, all postures are still, and countenances unmoved. There
is no suggestion of movement or spontaneous expression - just an intensely
concentrated posture which seems to have been adopted for eternity, as
being the most meaningful one. More recent work shows figures immersed
in complete self-absorption: profound sleep, unconsciousness, or death.
The postures in some of the drawings - for instance, that in which a figure
is composed of flocks of hundreds of migratory birds - are akin to that
of Maria in a state of swoon in paintings representing the 'descent from
the cross'. Occasionally, instead of an absence of time there is momentarily
frozen time. Postures display a tension like that of compressed springs;
the absence of movement seems to be but the lull before the storm. Faces
also tend to become more expressive. Drawings belonging to this group
were preceded by a series containing creeping and lying figures, their
bodies covered with volcanic landscapes. Apart from suggesting plasticity,
these landscapes are also patterns on the bodies. In this series might
also be included a drawing made after a stay in the Himalayas in 1999
- one of the few to refer to a concrete experience - in which the body
is filled with glaciers and faŤades of mountains. Whether or not the landscape
in this drawing is spatial is equivocal. Two different scales, that of
the body and that of the landscape, coexist. Less equivocal are the patterns
of tattoos covering the skins of some figures. However, although these
patterns are just linear and therefore less illusionistic, they, too,
confuse the eye by displaying multiple image layers. Initially the tattoos
were drawn in ink. In later drawings they were incised into the paper
itself by means of a surgical knife; thus, the drawings enter the realm
of the third dimension.
Drawings featuring swarms and flocks are the most recent. Here the shape
of the body partly dissolves into a pattern of vibrating particles. Such
decomposition of a form which is experienced as absolute appears again,
though in a rather different manner, in drawings of mosquitos settled
on faces. The red transparent bodies of the mosquitos are full and drop-shaped.
As winged drops of blood they will soon spread. Transience is a permanent
The drawings elude traditional iconography. In its place, use is made
of physical sensations granting access to the inner mind. Human bodies
are joined to animals or elements of a landscape. This fusion of incompatible
entities has a matter-of-course calmness in spite of being enforced and
creates a short-circuit in reason. For a short moment in time meaning
can be perceived in a different way. This mechanism is analogous to that
of imagery in language. Each drawing contains a trope: a simile or a metaphor.
In relation to the drawings, the present text should also be perceived
as a simile, and no more than that.