I have come with a second idea in mind. We will draw on both sides of a piece of paper and manipulate, fold or cut the paper to create a very simple 3D form. The aim is to create an exterior plane and an interior plane or surface. After an hour or two we acknowledge our lack of progress. The work we produce feels too foreign and leaves us both cold, although I am conscious of being intrigued intellectually. This interest isn’t showing in the work though so we abandon the idea.
We move onto our third project. We will create large drawings, working alternately, but to bypass the difficult first mark we improvise cut outs, connecting them using brass butterfly clips to make paper puppets. Then we animate the shape-puppets until we they spark a response.
The change in scale prompts grander mark-making from myself, or perhaps this is a reaction towards the lack of structure in the layout pad drawings. We don’t erase one another’s marks but we obliterate them with less compunction than before. We draw solidly for hours passing the drawings back and forth.
Time and again I observe real tension in the drawings. Jutta’s inclination is to build detail into mass covering a small area.
She is very steady. By contrast, I make more and more risky marks until I’ve pleated one drawing and poured gouache down another.
Two days pass and we look back on the work we’ve made. We’re both wrung out but buzzing. Of the 76 drawings we have made together only very few have ‘worked’ but I’ve learnt something from each one.
There follows time out to visit Köln’s museums or sit and think. The museums are expensive but fantastic.
The new Pas de Deux display at Kolumba overwhelms me completely. I take a whole day to get around it. Art and Roman artefacts are arranged with care and purpose room by room.
In Room 8, for example, there is a blood red painting (Joseph Marioni), a crude but beautiful wooden carving of Christ seated, three grave urns and a small black marble head. Without the guide, which is yet to be translated into English, I am thinking harder than I’ve done for a long while. This enhances the experience, perhaps predictably, and I experience a moment of epiphany ruminating on the content or possible meanings implied by this grouping.
This time alone to digest the shared drawing, mull over my ‘moment’ in the Kolumba and reflect on my own practice is critical of course. Why then is it so difficult to create room for it to happen closer to home?