Ana Mendes

On Drawing

»On Drawing« establishes a connection between thinking and drawing, whilst opening up the discourse between the arts and science. It is an artistic research project that takes as a point of departure various videos filmed with Mina Pegourie, a Moroccan immigrant woman living in France, who is unable to read or write; thus she uses drawing as a tool for everyday life.


Landscapes of the Virtual World

In this post, we spoke* with London-based digital artist Daria Jelonek, who explores the connection between technology and nature. In her work, Jelonek investigates »how humans will live with the increasing amount of technology and the degradation of biophysical nature« and what nature actually is to us. What is nature today and what is natural? Are these concepts interconnected? How many of us sleep with our smart phones? We are possibly turning into cyborgs, but one thing we know for

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Conversation with Sun Choi

Drawing from Within – Drawing with Breath

For this post, we spoke with the South Korean artist Sun Choi, who takes an experimental approach to painting. Educated at the Hong-Ik University in Seoul, Choi questions the nature of art as well as the western canons imposed onto Korean art. As he points out, »My work reflects my own questions about the ambiguity and indefinability of art.« The projects Choi develops use natural materials such as salt, hair, bones, sugar, or snow, or take inspiration from physical conditions

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On Drawing #10

The Artist as Scientist

Drawing is a common practice for many people – not only artists, but also scientists, students, or ordinary people. We all know this. Nevertheless, artists are some of the few ones who use drawing, simultaneously, as a process and product. Scientists are probably among those who have historically most used drawing as a study process and, in rare cases, as an artwork. If at this point you are thinking about Leonardo da Vinci, you are right. He was one of

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On Drawing

Swimming As Dance

_-_-_ this is perhaps the synthesis of the work of Japanese artist Kanako Hayashi, whose practice merges visual arts, performance, and dance. In this post, we talk with the artist, exploring what happens when drawing is no longer there/visible. What is perhaps so interesting in Hayashi’s work is the movement that she introduces between her works, and the dialogue between different art forms. For instance, her series Practice for Water Dance is made of collages that form visual compositions. »I

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Talk with Luis Lacerda (neuroscientist)

How the Brain Restructures Itself

Neuroplasticity is one of the most researched subjects nowadays, especially when it comes to visual and digital arts. What is, then, the impact of developing visual skills onto the brain? And in the specific case of drawing: does it really impact the structure of the brain? Many artists fantasize about the possibility of shifting their brain by using the left hand instead of the right one (or vice-versa) – but is that really possible? In this post, Ana Mendes (AM)

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On Drawing #8

This is not a Castle

This post takes as inspiration some of the drawings that Jean Baptiste Joly sent me – from September 2016 to December 2016 – after my six months as an artist-in-residence at Akademie Schloss Solitude. Seeing the drawings arriving to my Facebook page once per week like a treat, made me feel like one of Pavlov’s dogs, waiting for the next candy. Simultaneously, it also raised many questions, which I will address in upcoming posts. One of them is »what happens

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On Drawing #7

Drawing as Writing. The Children’s Case

»Why do children draw?« is one of the more intriguing questions that a parent might ask. Anyone who has witnessed children sketching something on a piece of paper knows how fascinating it is and, of course, how adults promptly run to make all sorts of interpretations of the prodigious child. Nevertheless, for children drawing is part of their kinesthetic development. They draw to get better control of their body – holding or manipulating objects is part of the process of

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On Drawing #6

The Extended Mind

Some strange news needs to be revealed for those wondering »where does thinking occur?«: outside of the brain! No matter how surprising this idea might sound at first, it’s, nevertheless, interesting, and … accurate! As we had already explained in the article What is the Impact of Drawing on the Brain?, the brain is not the only decision-maker, as the body is also involved in the cognitive process. Although Rene Descartes imagined the mind as an immaterial element, located in

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Drawing as a More-Than-One

This post takes up Ana Mendes’ provocative question, »what happens to the mind whilst the hand draws?« Mendes invites us to think about drawing as an embodied practice and to consider the body as a site for knowledge production. This move is crucial, especially considering the historical weight of Cartesian philosophy and its rigid mind/body dualism. But contra Descartes, Mendes insists that thought alone does not constitute knowledge. As she writes, »emotions play an important role in the formation of

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On Drawing #5

Thinking on Space

This time, I had a talk with Jimmy Kosolosky, an animation film director from Brussels, whom I met during my studies in animation film in France. We spent some wandering-drawing sessions together in Valence, France, where I somehow overcame my fear of drawing, and understood how expression is more important than technical expertise. Apart from his artistic practice, Kosolosky also uses drawing in everyday life in order to think spatially. His contribution was very illuminating in regard to the use

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On Drawing #4

Philosophy of Pictures

In his book Philosophical Investigations, Ludwig Wittgenstein implies that pictures are subservient to language – pictures do not carry any meaning, unless it is conveyed by language/words themselves, whereas words do not require any further explanation to be understood. So, when someone says bird, we know what it refers to; whereas, when we see a picture of a bird, we only know what its meaning is, because it has previously been referred to as the ‘bird’. As Wittgenstein states, »How

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On Drawing #3

What is the Impact of Drawing on the Brain?

After filming On Drawing, with Mina Pegourie, one of the questions that I was left with was, »what happens to the mind whilst the hand draws?« The hand clearly communicates with the brain whilst drawing, but what is the nature of that communication? What sort of knowledge is produced in these terms? And what is the impact of drawing as a physical gesture on the brain? Though not a draughtswoman myself, I’ve always enjoyed drawing, and used to embark on

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On Drawing #2

How to Draw Animals and Birds

One of the pleasures of doing research, is to find pearls such as the book How to Draw Animals and Birds for Profit or Pleasure*, by A. W. Browne. A cult author amongst the draughtsman community, in this tome he teaches his audience the etiquette of drawing these specimens. He goes as far as to say that, »an artist cannot seriously consider himself fully proficient in his calling if he has not a fairly comprehensive knowledge of the art of

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When Asked to Draw a Bird, Mina Did This Drawing And Said it Was a Canary

On Drawing is a project that started in 2014, when I met Mina Pegourie, the housemaid of an art residency that I attended in France. Mina is originally from Morocco, but has been living in France, since the age of 12. During my stay, I developed a special affinity with her, despite having only met her two or three times over my whole residency period of 1.5 months. One day, she came to my studio and showed me her address

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