February 19, 2021

If A Drawing Is Empty Can It Be Inhabited?

Will Knight

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Pen and WatercolourThe Belle, Great Western Road, Glasgow, Section Drawing 1:20 Scale (Private Commission), 2018(760 x 510mm)

Signs of Life. To capture something as large as a building on a sheet of paper, architects work to a reduced scale, using symbols and codes to represent the world. As an antidote to this, my work seeks to ’use the conventions of architectural drawings to describe space as a lived experience, rather than a static moment of perfection’. My drawings are created through a forensic measured investigation and in dialogue with the people who inhabit these places. At the Belle, in late 2018, I was liaising with the manager, chatting with the bar-staff as I sketched, negotiating with regulars as I manoeuvred with my tape measure. However, none of these characters inhabit the drawing, rather it is the stage and props that bring the drawing to ‘life’, allowing the viewer to place themselves within it, amongst the drama, in the inherent inhabitation of the drawing, upon a bar stool, at a window seat, or beside the bar; the drawing acting as mnemic device. Paradoxically, today, these places are empty. A distant distillation of memory is all we have, causing life to imitate art. The flowers in the drawing remain fresh. When we return, life within the drawing will endure.