Drawing and Loss

“Drawing as the loss of all the non-expressed

So happy to participate with the article “Drawing process and loss and lost time” at TRACEY Journal | ISSN: 1742-3570 | Drawing and Loss 2022 | Volume 16 | Issue 1 | ojs.lboro.ac.uk/TRACEY

Please find the hole article here and some favorite extracts above:

Drawing and loss can be approached in many ways. Loss, as an expression of a feeling, memory of a loss or literally the loss of a member that is missing, can be a configurational issue or object to configurate. Loss of vision can also be part of an antiocularcentric approach and critique (Jay, 1993).


In these cases, loss is perceived more as an unfinished image or as an image of the invisible. Lack of detail in representation, in comparison with a photographic or realistic approach, has lost something of the referential object. Or, when loss itself is the referential object, then loss is the formative force to present what cannot be presented.

In this article, we investigate drawing and loss from the process point of view. During drawing as action, an inner experience (Dewey, 2005 and Bataille, 2014) and behavior often require loss of one’s certainties, control, bias and final scopes.


Because of their similarity as a consecutive way to mark over a surface, many descriptions from literature are borrowed to describe the process of drawing. In this sense, when Blanchot (2015) refers to the void – empty place – during writing, we can easily think that the description also applies to drawing. Emptiness is seen as a way of facing writing and drawing as a loss of objectives, as the loneliness that the author faces in an impersonal place.


For Nancy, drawing is ‘the opening of the form’ (Nancy, 2013) because it is gesture, power, possibility, force (dynamis) that is realized, exerted (energy) on a surface. However, form in this case is not only the form presented, traced on a surface, but also the form of a subject who moves in such a way that s/he traces, modifies, makes his/her movements and leaves signs on the surfaces s/he touches.

Drawing Natalia Vime, imprografika workshop 2015.


This “borderline” drawing of cutting traces reveals, among other things, the direct relationship between traces and surface. Whether lines are made with a cutter or laser, cuttings may break the surface into small independent parts or modify its borders in ways that it can sustain itself, be it in a folded or unfolded form. Cutting lines don’t permit “trial and error”. The surface is no longer a “white” background, neutral or in second plan in order to reveal figures. With cutting traces, the surface is suffering a loss and at the same time it becomes activated. As figure and background are merged and become unseparated, the drawing’s limits expand and, in a way, break.


The drawing body, always open to new appearances, configures its own identity documents, its ‘papers’ that give it permission to communicate through a writing of affection, the spellings of feeling, its fears and its deepest dreams.


The body that moves and vibrates, transmits using the traces as means, as links between the body (interior) and the surface and the traces (exterior) (Nancy, 2010). The traces traced on the surfaces are observed as a product of this constant reciprocal exchange between interior and exterior.


Collective drawing, imprografika workshop 2015.

The work as an opening is the exploration of an unknown territory that artists themselves often ignore; becoming under this point of view in the opening, an entity that draws, while it unites with its environment by doing, by drawing. The subject transmits by expressing his/her subconscious, converting the field of footprints into derived signals.

There are moments during the experience of drawing, moments of deep concentration, when imagination is completely merged, “circulating” in the imaginary world of the miniature of the drawing, where the designer/drawer has lost any scope, “global” vision, direction and is simply moving from one line to another, fabricating traced worlds. This moment of dreaming during the action of drawing, as in dreaming during writing, is a moment of loss. Immersed in ‘knitting’ a ‘text’ of traces, drawing is losing the image of oneself, losing corporal control and the scope of each/the drawing. Remaining in or looking forward to reaching this state of drawing where tracing is an experience of dreaming in/into a miniature is an enjoyable state.


Letting yourself be carried away by the hands without trying to control your gestures, only spying on your vicissitudes,’ says Javier Seguí (2010, p. 10). While the hands move freely, without mediators, “judges” and rules, without trying to recognize or be recognized, it seems they are closer to that body hat escapes the limits of the skin. While they ‘dance’ freely, they are closer to the body that feels, sweats from agony, cries because they left it, smiles because they looked at it and forgets the ‘outside’ and the ‘how it looks like/it can be seen’.


There are those moments where the body somehow loses control. As long as the movements of the hands are not defined by the grammar, the syntax, the positions of the letters on the keyboard, the requirements and the objectives they must meet, they begin to draw more freely. As it happens when the hands are carried away caressing and sliding over the body of the other. Similarly, they are left, somewhat sloppy, to draw lines and colored spots. Over there, in the non-intermediary, in the flow, but also, listening to the need and desire for the body to manage to go out. As the hands transmit, they act, according to Aby Warburg, like ‘seismographs of the human body’ and its emotions (Didi-Huberman, 2009). Emotionographers whose traces are psychographies, small inexplicable signs linked to that body that feels and is overwhelmed with emotions it does not know how to describe. Also, the loss of the image of oneself and outer environment during drawing is seen as an inner experience. The loss of identity, the loss of the image of oneself, the loss of control, the loss of the preconceived images, but also drawing as the loss of all the non-expressed. The feeling of loss and lost expression reflected in the traced lines, traces revealing drawing as the writing of the lost expression.

Anthokosmos_melanies, 2018

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