drawing the delicate 2008-2012
This project set out to examine relationships between investigative procedures in sciences of conservation, archaeology and medicine and the experimental tools and ideas of Art. It centred on drawing as an exploratory and analytical tool of investigation, where overlapping concerns can be found, specifically in the researcher’s shared engagement with fugitive or delicate material.Drawing was considered as a mimetic and embodied practice, analogous to activities in daily life, and sensitive to existential and sensory experience.
The interdisciplinary approach of the project was in stark opposition to the conventional understanding of drawing as a secretive, private, studio-centred dialogue between artist and page. Rather than simply asking that increasingly hackneyed question: “what is drawing?”, it focussed on the activities of researchers who share values with a particular form of studio practice (one concerned with damage, contact, delicacy, sensitivity, traces) to ask “what might drawing share?”.
Over the course of the project drawings were made through a series of site vists and collaborations in archaeology, medicine and costumes conservation. Alonside the drawings, forms of documentation which are rare, yet necessary, to enable critical debate (through raising awareness of studio decision-making in relation to the processes of other fields), were developped to test a transferable model for cross-discipline knowledge exchange. The project was completed in 2012 as a PhD Thesis 'Drawing the Delicate'.