Ursula von Rydingsvard is also showing drawings alongside her sculpture. Her drawings echo her materials sensibility, the ones shown being a meditation on the processes of papermaking as well as paper’s ability to retain traces and impressions of actions and engagement with the process of markmaking. The paper chosen is a cotton laid paper. She has opened up the nature of the process by extending the papers beyond the papermaking frame, probably having the paper laid onto felt and while still wet extending the bottom edges by working with wet paper pulp and cotton threads, thus highlighting the way gravity effects the ‘run’ of water through the paper as it dries. Spots of pigment are also applied, these dissipating out through the wet paper and falling down towards the extended edges, again highlighting the awareness of gravity as a process affecting the construction of the images. The fact these papers are cotton based, is further emphasised by additions of threads sunk into the bottom edges of the papers, breaking the papers’ rectangles (see comments on grids below) and suffusing themselves into the pulp extensions. My previous two posts, ‘The Imprint and the Trace’ and ‘Letting things happen’ could both be read in conjunction with her drawings, as several of the points made are observable in her working processes.
Rydingsvard’s sculptures are also of great interest to anyone drawing. At their core they are three dimensional grids and no matter how far she pushes the carved exploration towards organic forms, the fact that she constructs these forms from regular blocks of cedar wood, means that the interplay between the three dimensional grid and the carving provides an underlying structural element not unlike layers of rocks laid down over millions of years, that are then revealed by erosion. The grid as an organizational and structural principle is something that I will be reflecting upon in a future post, but it might be worthwhile thinking about how far a grid can be ‘eroded’ away and yet still be used as a structural device. If you watch the film of her making, you will also see that she builds these sculptures up in a painstaking way, each block being marked out for cutting before it is attached to the next, again this might be a way into thinking through how a structural element can be carefully built as well as ‘found’.
Ai Weiwei uses the grid format in his chapel piece, this time using the grid to organise his chairs and present them formally. The formal ‘frontal’ nature of this piece again echoing not only the underlying structural principles of making a chair, but carving the space of the chapel up in such a way that people are encouraged to sit in chairs that carry a heavy weight of cultural heritage.