And the stairs are made of paper
There once was a man whose shadow was blacker than others. As a child, this singled him out from his entourage. One beautiful spring day everyone was out dancing in the sun’s warm rays. Suddenly, like a beam crossing the area where they were romping about, his darker shadow caused them to stumble. Needless to say, he felt this stroke very strongly. As an adult he could no longer do without this distinction. As soon as the slightest ray of sun came out from behind the clouds, he walked head held high through the streets enjoying the effect he caused. One day, when the shadow was perhaps at its darkest, blacker that ever, he caught fire. And that is all that we know of his story.
The attraction of drawing, says Jean Luc Nancy, is the line formed when two lips touch.1 Where there is drawing, there is no longer speech. Drawing silences. There are several ways to confront it. You can follow the lines. Look for rhizomic sense in the branches and admire the white sky that lies behind. Or you can drown in the blackness of the line. Widening out instead of drawing further on. Opening up. And then, while waiting for a cry or song that might come out of the gap’s deep darkness, air touches us. Air that is inseparable from the flesh of the drawing.
«Water has no beams» is a German expression. The surface of water doesn’t support someone who cannot swim. However, depending on the speed with which a body meets the surface, it solidifies, becomes impenetrable, hits us. To the eye, this surface is also solid, structured by waves, shadows, reflections. It’s as if the eye rubs the surface and rubbing against it causes images to appear. The water is then, in fact, a support. Until the moment when you slip in and realise that, of course, all these beams do not bear weight. They call.
The body of black – epilogue
Katerina Christidi works with black. She uses the tools of a painter to make drawings on large canvases stretched directly on the wall. They are not abstract. They’re a figuration of the body and the body of the drawing. She uses charcoal to make the black, attested to by the traces of black dust in her atelier. Her method is to connect ends to ends. She draws, takes notes on bits of paper, finds other images, other notes. Joins them together. And then gets to work on a large drawing. Here we have some of her recipes for drawing. And the texts are a way to get closer to those drawings, to experience them. They create a visual effect, of course. And also a narrative experience in the recognition of oddly familiar images. Then there is still another element. One the artist produces through the physical, narrative, mythical dimensions of the drawings. The sense of touch. Her drawings touch this body of black. They embody the touch. This body, so fragile that if you insist too much, you will break the tip of your nose. Nevertheless, reach out your hand – be touched.
May 2015, Paris
J. Emil Sennewald
Translation: Timothy Perkins
1 Voir Jean-Luc Nancy, « Le désir de la ligne », in: Le Plaisir au dessin, éd. Galilée, Paris 2009.