Christine Hiebert on Ursula von Rydingsvard

This is a rare offering from Ursula von Rydingsvard—first, as a drawing on paper, and second, as a representational image. It suggests a standard use of drawing, no less profound for its being perfunctory: to fix an object in memory. Line commits the vision of an African stool to paper, travelling along the stool’s planes and edges and carved details. But what of additional urgencies revealed in the handling of pencil: the meander of mark over a form we assume to be solid, the freedom and agitation of strokes at its periphery, and the many fingerprints at the top of the sheet? This tension between representation and gesture suggests to me a metaphoric narrative; and if hand-drawing in itself reveals a journey, perhaps the stool in this drawing is positioned as a means of transportation:

she pushes the stool into place and climbs onto it,
reaching for something;
then, gripping both the void of the white paper and the material of it,
she lifts herself out of the drawing
and back into the physical world.

After all, void and material are more familiar to von Rydingsvard. The small, neat arrow “up” in the lower left corner puts the journey in code for us.

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