I once posed for an artist who attempted to teach how to draw by uttering all his thoughts while drawing. He recorded the image of the drawing, as well as his voice, and the first one was projected onto the wall behind me. I was not able see this image, but could form a picture from the sound of his voice.

Later on, the recording was sent to the students, in order for them to ponder on the act of drawing, to study the proper gestures, and to adopt what he thought to be the accurate mindset for the artist. I asked for a copy of this video.

The image interested me little: it was the sound I wished to transcribe. I wanted to collect all these thoughts and gather them into a sort of self-portrait, that would neither be properly me, nor properly him, but rather a portrait of the relation between the draughtsman and the object drawn, and back again.

It was unclear to me in which extent intrusion or empathy were involved in my attempt to assimilate his viewpoint. My undertaking was rather appropriative, but the situation interested me enough to wish to document it. 

I searched for justifications, telling myself that this project was the portrait of an ideal co-presence, in which both processes of objectivation could cancel each other out. But perhaps this reasoning was not exactly honest, and if so, my drive could be put more bluntly: he had tried to grasp me, and it was fair enough to attempt to grasp him back.

As I transcribed his words, his own point of view actually appeared more appropriative than what I had perceived in the drawing room. Indeed, during the 55:14 minutes of recording, partially documenting a posing time of 2 x 30:00 minutes, the word ‘taking’ was repeated 54 times. (As a comparison, there are only 48 occurrences of ‘drawing’.)

What is ‘taking’ in relation to ‘drawing’? Are there ways of drawing that preserve the life of the object, or is the desire to retain appearances coercive by definition? Is ‘taking’ the mark of an appropriation, or rather the sign of a comprehension of the other?  





This work is composed of 26,97 A4 sheets (that is: my bodily surface).