Stedelijk Museum

The drawing topologies exhibition is both an investigation into the different areas of drawing and a means to purchase work for the Stedelijk’s permanent collection. There are two reasons why I found this exhibition pertinent; the division of drawing into five distinct topologies and what contemporary Netherlands based artists are doing with and within drawing.

The Stedelijk had dedicated a large amount of space to this exhibition, allowing the works space to breathe and their labels were unobtrusive. This exhibition enabled you to get an idea of the artists practice as apposed to a collection of various drawings selected on face value. Drawing was not restricted to works on paper but including many other media. The five topologies gave the exhibition a critical framing to the work and guided reflection on the movements within contemporary drawing.

The topologies were; laboratory, representational, as drawn (meaning to draw out of yourself), narrative, and drawing as the capturing of time.

Some works clearly didn’t fit into their topology. There was no category for drawing as a way of documenting. Drawing as time capsule’ could include drawing used to document, but other works such as Marc Nagtzaam’s meticulously copied computer print outs were better suited to drawing to contain and expand time. Work where the labour of making is condensed within the reading of the image. Many of the ‘representational’ drawings were more suited to the ‘narrative’ section. Marijn van Kreij work in the ‘Drawing as Drawn’ section was dealing with issues of representation, though I found his work fascinating partly because I found it difficult to truly get inside and categorise.

The five toponyms are a helpful start to the break down of differing approaches to drawing. Drawing in relation to space seemed to there but not acknowledged. Justin Bennett’s drawing of a large room displayed with an accompanying audio of the sound of the drawing being made, but the size of the space was drawn twice with the line and the sound of the line through the echo of the drawn line within the space, was in the laboratory section but was clearly dealing with space.

Another area that is currently relevant that is of ‘ground’ where artists are through drawing transforming the nature of the ground: in the case of Amalia Pica’s ‘Island’ she drew a tropical island in the snow. The snow became the white page and the tropical island and the sea. I want to see an exhibition exploring how drawing is used to change, drawing of action and critique. An exhibition engaging in a critical investigation into the relationship between the act of drawing and what it does to the ground.

Drawing Topologies is a fantastic show case of contemporary drawing.