In Situ Arts Writing

Throughout May I have attempted an arts writing that responds directly to Boedi Widjaja experiments with materials and when he is making work. These pieces of writing include ‘first thought’ notes that are spontaneous and done on the spot both during Boedi and my walks and during sessions in the DRAW workshop. I never plan how I will write before hand, rather I allow my response to the artistic practice, place and remnants of conversation shape the words and I try not to the edit the pieces afterwards.

Word sketches – exploring textures

Within these experimental ‘word sketches’ (many of which were done in situ and have not been edited) I play with poetic language and memory, and explore how textures are creatively used in both visual art and language to signify something else. I use the texture – the artist’s trace as ‘document’ and ‘signifier’ – as a framework to explore my argument for new models of art writing, and, so my writing both responds to Boedi’s practice and the discussions at DRAW, and uses the drawing activity as part of my enquiry.

Another area of my research is grounding the writing in the materiality of the artistic action by engaging in experimental practice based works – in order to physical feel and engage with the artistic materials to inform my writing, by allowing me to experience and think about the material – touch, pull of the material, textures, feel of the paper, smells – alongside conceptual ideas it gives rise to.

Altair Roelants

Drawing has always been for me, a process that is both visual and tactile. When I arrived in Caylus, I started to observe how the local architecture is very much defined by thick stone walls. Caylus has been around since the Medieval times so these stone walls are also present in the woods, where I walked.

I began to pay attention to the stone walls as they look very different from the smooth, perpetually new, man-made urban surfaces in Singapore. I began to make graphite frottages of these old walls. I wanted to use my hands to see, to know, to understand and to grasp at this unfamiliar reality.

The graphite frottages soon led to an exploration of various printing techniques: printing using clay, collagraph, monotype, and the use of pigment and wall paper paste. The latter especially, by combining printing and frottage techniques, enabled me to collect textures of walls and stones by printing them in situ.

As I take the visual textures from Caylus to Singapore, I ask the following question: How do I transpose the medieval stone walls of Caylus, the weight of their history and their massive presence, into an Asian global city that stubbornly resists any form of temporal continuity and permanence?

Boedi Widjaja