Lines Fiction: The two animations you show on this website have a different approach to the medium of the moving image, and also a different focus on the process of drawing.
Let’s first talk about your clip “Brenda, Lee”. It is presented in the form of an animated slide show, but for the longest time it really was a movie clip on paper. How did you present the drawings before you decided to get them moving?
Monika Bartholomé: At first the watercolor drawings from the series “Brenda, Lee” were grouped together on a wall that was 6m long and 4m high. That’s the situation in my studio in Cologne. This form of hanging made it possible to relate all drawings and texts to one another, they can be viewed in a block. By looking across the field different connections can be made between image and text, a process that has to do with the concept of memory. All of the viewer’s combinations spring from his or her own memory and form the analogy to their own experience. All my series of so called antetypes deal with perception, in this case the appreciation of art.
My drawings in the series “Brenda, Lee” quote paintings; mostly by Hopper, but also Kirchner’s Milli and Frenzi, Munch, Modersohn-Becker.
The paintings by Edvard Hopper are frequently perceived as film stills. The impression of showing a small section of the scene and his distribution of light (you never see a direct light source) are typical for his work.
In a Munich exhibition space I had a wall of 18m x 12m for my show, and I decided to hang the drawings in a row, giving the impression of a film strip. Also there was a special event taking place at the opening. A young pianist played quite unfamiliar pieces from Eric Satie, and the visitors were seated directly in front of the wall, not facing the piano but the row of drawings, bringing to mind the way silent movies were formerly presented.
In this moment the idea was born to try the medium film in my work.
May be it was not as much the medium film itself that interested me, but the question how does a drawing evolve, how do I start, how do I find my theme, how do I set in motion what I see. Also my mood during this process, what is my own memory providing and what do I connect with one another on the course of drawing.
Lines Fiction: This focus on animation in your work is presented in your compilation “Visiting” .
From a camera angle right above the drawing table we see the emerging picture and at the same time your hands drawing. Why did you develop this practice?
Monika Bartholomé: In 2010 I started with making computer animations while working on Netsuke and japanese wood carving. I just wanted to show some small movements in the drawings like turning a thumb and moving eyes. But usually have a more random way of drawing, and so I didn’t like this strict method, and the lines that became too artificial.
My way of drawing (I call it “follow my hand with my eyes” ) needed another way of translation into moving images. I always liked working with transparency foil that I layerered and moved around. I also love to play around, to try out, and to react to what happens.
Also a white sheet of drawing paper isn’t only an empty piece of paper for me but an endless light room that is enhanced by lines. Therefore the light box supports this idea. For all these reasons I changed from animation to filming the real-time moving around of paper, and I focus on the drawing process. I prefer drawing on paper to sitting at the computer. The handmade, the passing of time, all of this is important to me, and surprisingly to me, the simple thing feels right. I film myself drawing over a light box, I don’t work with cuts, only with the zoom, and with two drawing papers that I turn and move around.