Le Monde / Drawing the World (Paris)
This series of drawings is evolving from the initial series-- Drawing the World / Le Monde-- which began in Paris in May 2011 when I bought my first copy of the French newspaper Le Monde. Recently arrived in the city, I set up my studio in La Cité internationale des arts in the Marais where I spent the next four months on a Canada Council International Residency. That summer I visited the same newsstand near l’Hôtel de Ville to buy Le Monde from the proprietor, a dignified Roma man. Thus I set out to record all the pictures in Le Monde on a given day, to draw the world – while operating, of course, within the conceit of the grandiose ambit of the newspaper’s title, Le Monde. Recent drawings have been produced on residencies in Barcelona and Cadiz, Spain and in Chapala, Mexico; abandoning the conceit of the newspaper to work from my own photographs
Using carbon paper as an interface between newspaper and drawing paper created a sense of drawing ‘blind,’ the image emerging only after the removal of layers. As I composed and layered images, inventing marks using my fingers, fingernails, and erasures, selecting pencils for their line qualities, varying the speed and pressure of the drawn line, a tangled, interwoven web of images emerged, at times as difficult to process as the world itself.
The process of drawing is determinedly slow in contrast to the tsunami and chaos of daily events, the rapid overload of seemingly random information that makes news. Slowing down may be one of the last radical actions possible, in the art world and in the world generally. Recording these fleeting pictures allowed me to access Paris in a particularly personal way, creating a tangible, tactile record in opposition to the speed of information. These drawings are a paper archive of a newspaper still printed on paper, a rarity as news moves increasingly to on-line delivery.