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Drawing in the Expanded Field

Anna Lovatt
University of Nottingham

Ed Krcma
Camberwell College of Arts

In recent years the category 'drawing' has expanded to incorporate a wide range of materials and processes, making it increasingly difficult to define. In contemporary art, the term 'drawing' might refer to a physical struggle (Matthew Barney), a fragment of a cinematic sequence (Tacita Dean), an object made linear (Cornelia Parker) or a geopolitical borderline (Doris Salcedo). Historically, drawing has been understood as the 'parent' of the arts: a practice common to painting, sculpture and architecture which disrupts modernist notions of medium-specificity. Beyond the visual arts, drawing links diverse disciplines including architecture, anthropology, medicine and geography. As we hope to explore here, an engagement with drawing can highlight points of methodological intersection and division between these fields. Taking Rosalind Krauss's concept of the 'expanded field' as its discursive basis, this session seeks to explore what drawing is and does across a range of disciplines and over a broad historical period. While Krauss's 1979 essay identified sculpture's placement within an 'expanded field' as a condition of postmodernism, the study of drawing might suggest alternative models for thinking about historical continuity and rupture within cultural practices. Key questions this session will address include: is a definition of drawing worth attempting and if so what might be its foundation? What is lost or gained by expanding a conception of drawing beyond its familiar moorings in paper and line? Can we discern key shifts in modern drawing? What are the relations between drawing and technology? How should drawing be considered in relation to the arrival of the digital?