Most of us have been to open-studio events, and while it is always interesting to see artists’ studios and their work, the quality of the latter often leaves something to be desired, leading to art fatigue. At the Drawing Factory’s upcoming open-studio events, however, you will see almost nothing but excellent work.
The Drawing Factory is a temporary offshoot of a small empire that revolves around contemporary drawing and includes the excellent Drawing Now annual art fair, the Drawing Hotel (with each floor decorated by a different artist) and the Drawing Lab exhibition space.
A new Drawing Hotel is planned just off the Champs-Élysées, near the Arc de Triomphe, but before renovation begins, the former hotel’s rooms have been given over to 33 artists to use as studios for a period of six months.
These serious artists were selected by a jury consisting of art critics, curators, collectors and other artists from a pool of 400 candidates – that’s where the quality guarantee comes in. The studio spaces are free (and each one has an en suite bathroom!), and each artist is given a stipend of €500 per month for expenses.
The press was given a sneak preview and the chance to meet the artists last week. While those whose work I saw had widely differing approaches, they all shared a desire to stretch the boundaries of drawing and bring something new to their practice. Some, like Odonchimeg Davaadorj, wanted to add a third dimension to bring their work closer to sculpture. She often pricks holes in her delicate color drawings to give them texture or adds thread to take the drawing “beyond the paper.” In these works with a surreal, haunting quality, “one story might hide another,” as in a series of large images of birds with human facial features on their breasts (see picture at the top of this page) or of flowers that morph into human faces.
Carpets offer another way to create three-dimensional drawings. Araks Sahakyan takes a theatrical approach to art and expresses herself in many ways – through drawings, installations, performances and music. Her “drawings” on woven carpets reference the traditions of Armenia, where she was born, but tell her own stories. Chloé Dugit-Gros also draws with carpets, but in this case, they are tufted carpets she makes herself.
Another artist, the charming 25-year-old Gabrielle Kourdadzé, associates music with her work and has brought her piano to the studio, the first one she has had to herself. Some of her accomplished large-format monochrome or two-color drawings of people on the street – who seem to float on the paper since she eliminates the seats that support them from the image – superimpose one figure over another. Another set of abstract drawings is inspired by her music or by her own brain scans.
Some artists have simply used the walls of the rooms as their support. Juliette Green has created a diagram recounting the (fake) history of the hotel, which will grow and take over the whole space by the time the six months are over, incorporating events that occur during that time.
The artists will be able to meet with art-world professionals during three two-day periods, each followed by a one-day visit open to the public, on May 29, July 3 and September 11 (reserve online). Don’t miss the chance to meet these talented young artists and see their work in situ.Favorite