30 September 2017 – 2 January 2018
The act of drawing is a journey of discovery. Whether the artist is working from a model, memory or the imagination, the process of drawing offers a series of encounters between what is sought and what surprises along the way. The sheet of paper becomes the record of these encounters, capturing a moment in time. For viewers, the immediacy of drawing thus provides a greater intimacy with its creator. It also provides contemporary artists with an invaluable glimpse into the mind of their predecessors.
Drawing Together seeks to stimulate new insights by presenting unexpected pairings of drawings from The Courtauld Gallery’s collection and by living artists. These pairings reveal inevitable contrasts, but also highlight underlying similarities in the exploratory processes of artists across centuries. The timeless quality of drawing allows for stimulating comparisons that transcend function and period. For example, Hans Hartung’s improvisational abstract drawing echoes the dynamism found in the private sketchbook of George Romney, who worked two centuries earlier. In both, unexpected forms emerge from their loose and open handling of drawing.
To exemplify this creative engagement, Stephen Farthing was invited to draw in response to a work by the Italian Baroque artist Guercino. A drawing by Jenny Saville, on loan from the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, is juxtaposed to others by earlier artists, thus encouraging the open dialogue between the past and the present and invite the viewer to engage with the exploratory nature of drawing.
The exhibition is curated by Ben Thomas and co-organised by The Courtauld Gallery with the University of Kent.