The Drawing Center has long been dedicated to exploring both contemporary and historical drawing in its many forms. It also has provided a platform for new scholarship on, and insights into, the past, present, and future of the medium. With an offering that encompasses a variety of artistic disciplines, our 2013–2014 season introduces The Drawing Center’s Performance Series, a three-part series of commissioned performances that showcase important intersections between performance, time-based practices, and visual art. While The Drawing Center has always hosted live performances as accompaniments to its exhibitions and has featured work by various performance artists, the Performance Series marks a new initiative that champions performance as a significant component of our programming.
Performance Series is produced in collaboration with five leading contemporary practitioners: Susan Hefuna, Luca Veggetti, Rashaad Newsome, Andrea Bowers, and Suzanne Lacy. Their performances disabuse us of the conventional idea that mark-making simply stems from putting pen to paper. Instead, they frame it, and drawing more broadly, as an open-ended act in and through which lines can be performed and enacted.
The world premiere of NOTATIONOTATIONSmarks a first-time collaboration between renowned multimedia artist Susan Hefuna (b. Germany, 1962) and contemporary choreographer Luca Veggetti (b. Bologna, Italy, 1963). NOTATIONOTATIONS posits that if a line is the trace of a point in motion, then the human body moving through space is also a drawing inserted into the four-dimensional space of the observed world. Staged over three nights, Hefuna and Veggetti’s work opens and closes with a new video installation of a bustling, lower Manhattan intersection—a literal mapping of people and place that examines movement as something that is both rehearsed and habitual. On the gallery floor is an expansive web of chalk lines made by Hefuna (her largest drawing to date), its execution captured on film. Throughout the piece, the artist perseveres via projection; her act of making is screened while Veggetti’s dancers gradually erase the drawn surface through their repetitive, physical gestures. The performance culminates in a dynamic display of swooping whorls made by the dancers’ pivots and skids across the floor. The result is its own form of choreographic documentation. Building upon the linear framework of Hefuna’s large-scale floor drawing, Veggetti’s dance reflects an elegant restraint and distilled agility, for example, in the subtle elongation of a dancer’s pointed leg, which evokes the imprint of a straight line. For Hefuna, Veggetti’s choreography resulted in a more expanded, free-wheeling approach to mark-making, which is in evidence in her multilayered, ink-ontracing paper abstractions on view in our Drawing Room gallery. Though tension remains in the works’ linear iterations, their edges mellow to become more expressive and dynamic, like a ballerina’s leaps. The grid, Modernism’s signature emblem of order, takes on a very different role here. In NOTATIONOTATIONS, it elicits motion and infinite possibility.
This performance would not have been possible without the generous support of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation’s Artistic Innovation and Collaboration Program, which supports risk-taking and innovative collaborations in the spirit of Robert Rauschenberg. We would also like to thank Seab Eigner and Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago fortheir support.
We wish to offer our profuse thanks to Susan Hefuna and Luca Veggetti for their steadfast commitment to this project. We are also grateful to Adam Larsen for his expertise in documenting the event. Additional thanks to Olivia Ancona, PeiJu Chien-Pott, a soloist from the Martha Graham Dance Company, and Gabrielle Lamb who performed. The Drawing Center’s staff deserves recognition for their keen efforts in staging this production. Special thanks to Dan Gillespie, Operations Manager; Molly Gross, Communications Director; Anna Martin, Registrar; Nicole Goldberg, Deputy Director for External Affairs; Jonathan T.D. Neil, Executive Editor; Joanna Ahlberg, Managing Editor; and Peter J. Ahlberg, AHL&CO.