This week started with the presentation by Dr. Jon Wood at Akademi Valand, the arts department of Gothenburg University. The third presentation in our Sculpture Lecture series focused on the relation between Sculpture, Photography and Drawing. Jon Wood, research curator and art historian from The Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, and Co-editor of Sculpture Journal presented his lecture `Drawing on Sculpture: Graphic Interventions on the Photographic Surface´.

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The lecture took its starting point in the exhibition at the Henry Moore Institute a few years back: “Drawing on Sculpture: Graphic Interventions on the Photographic Surface”, to which Wood written the catalogue text. The exhibition examined the subtle ways drawing and photography has been used to mediate sculpture and allowing artists to describe sculpture in a more flexible manner. The exhibition was put together primarily through the collections of Leeds Museums and Galleries and the Henry Moore Institute archive, and began with Rodin who used drawing on top of photos of his sculpture, like connotations which never were translated in to the sculpture but accordingly can be seen as an interpretation of the sculpture.

Jon Wood guided us from Rodin’s drawings through Willi Baumeister’s satire drawings of sculptures to present day, describing the works of Hew Locke, whose graffiti-like over-drawing references both Rodin’s sculptures and Baumeister’s mocking of the monumental sculpture tradition.

Wood opened up for an interesting discussion about the drawings and how we as an audience can interpret these interventions, on one hand it can be seen as a mocking of the sculpture tradition, trying to tease the idea of the masculine genius and the modernist ideologies by taking over the work and draw on it. This is a way to question authorship and challenge the idea of the autonomous artist. On the other hand it can be a way to give the work a new life, to experiment with the work, to animate and activate a sculpture from stable to unstable, from static to moving. These drawings gives us guidelines to the sculpture and expresses the internal emotional world of the sculpture, things we might not see with our bare eyes.

The relationship between sculpture and photography has been the subject of increased attention in exhibitions and publications in recent years, and we are very grateful Jon Wood came and visited us in Gothenburg, tossing drawing into the mix and giving us new understanding of sculpture, photography and drawing.

The discussion that followed also addressed the lack of women artists in the exhibition which Jon Wood attributed to the fact that they actually could not find any, probably because of the era from which the works where drawn. He also mentioned that there might be a tendency for women artist to hold a greater respect for the printed photograph thus being more reluctant in making alterations on it´s surface. This is an interesting notion as it’s a matter of authorship and who is allowed to become an author and takes the right to explore authorship. Women are now more represented in the art field which might give them the confidence and authority to explore authorship to a further extent.

We would like to thank everyone who made Jon Woods visit possible: The IASPIS expert visit program, Galleri Box, Lasse Lindkvist and Akademi Valand.

Text by Sofia Landström