Not to begin with unfairly broad questions, but why do you draw (as opposed, perhaps, to painting, sculpting, performing etc.)? If your practice encompasses other mediums in addition to drawing, is there a relationship between those varied aspects of your practice? e.g. if you paint as well, do you draw as a preliminary means to painting, or does the pencil/crayon possess its own aesthetic authority for you? If you also engage in performance art, is there a performative element to your acts of drawing?
Drawing is probably less a chosen medium than an automatic corporeal impulse, in my case. I didn't learn it in an art academy, but rather it's something I've been doing since childhood. As with any recurring activity, it soon became habitual and after decades, it now feels almost involuntary. Drawing is more than an activity on paper; I perceive reality through its visual, tactile, aural and spatial dimensions. Depending on subject and parameters, the act of drawing manifests itself diffrently. Often in the making of a work, different acts of drawing happen sequentially to get ot the desired point. Hence, the final outcome is the compound result of this sequence.
What does drawing mean to you, personally? A lot of the theoretical discourse around the medium is premised on the fact of the line (as the basic unit), but do you conceive of it differently, in your own way? For instance, to return to the idea of performance – is drawing about the gesture rather than the visual object for you? Or, to raise another example, do you see the ephemerality of the medium – the fact that pencil marks can be erased, but paint and marble etc. are far more permanent – as being fundamental to its practice, discourse etc? Those are just examples, however, feel free to respond with your own ideas.
I don't think about drawing as a medium; I see it closer to an action, a method or in my case, a faculty. It is about sensing intuitively from my location, a point, and the act to reach it. Almost any gesture, be it making a line on paper, writing a sentence, building an installation, walking a path or a minimal turn of the body, can be acts of drawing.
Is the fact that art history has consistently relegated drawing to a subordinate position – with regards to other mediums – a factor in your practice of it? Does it impact how you view yourself as an artist, or what your practice is? An example: if you are a woman, do you see drawing as a reflection of the continued male domination of the art world? (esp. in Southeast Asia, as well as Asia as a whole). Do you use drawing as a means to making statements, however indirect, on broader themes, e.g. power structures in the social field, in art discourse etc.?
I don't find myself having to wrestle with these ideas that are found in Western art history. As a child, I was always surrounded by drawings: comic books, cartoons, calendars with printed Chinese paintings, pencil marks on fabric (my mother sewed), technical drawings in the manual (my father repaired the sewing machines) etc. The primacy of drawing held true for me then and continues to do so now. I enjoy drawings that gently resist conclusions. This is often seen as a weakness but I see it as a mature attitude in contrast to the various forms of machismo that I experienced in the art world.
How would you define drawing (if one would like to engage in such an exercise)? - Not simply with regards to your own practice of it, but in general. Is it simply the act of putting pencil to surface? What about mediums like ink, or conte crayon etc.? Do those count as drawing? Or is anything that renders a line on a surface admissible within this category? Does this mark have to be materially erasable? Is there a difference between drawing and sketching?
There are two aspects of drawing - action and outcome. I have talked about the former. The latter, I will generally say as anything with discernible figure-ground qualities. I aim for each work to be a sketch, or a diagram in Deleuzian terms: economical in process and material use, with the outcome being conceptually open and extendable.
In terms of drawing, who are some of the artists who have influenced your own practice? Which aspects of their work have been important for you?
The influences are so many. However I am presently interested to relook at how the philosophies and methods of Soviet artists like Kazimir Malevich, Alexander Rodchenko and Wassily Kandinsky have informed my practice. I feel like they each practiced drawing through the disciplines of graphic design, sculpture and architecture. This multidisciplinary approach is something that I am keen on, to produce works as different instances of a gestalt.
To end with a quote from Alexander Rodchenko, "On the one hand, line is the entire construction taken as a whole...in this case the line is the carcass, the skeleton, the relationship between different planes. On the other, it fixes the kinetic moments of the construction of an organism used as a unitary whole made up of individual parts, and in this case line is the path ahead, movement, collision, conjunction, break and continuation... Only the line, then, tells us what has happened."