When I met Zsuzsanna Gilice the first time, she was still a student at Valand School of Fine Arts. She told me she was looking for “larger papers”. Her drawings were growing and searching for their proper format. On seeing her work now, in the entrance hall of the new University West in Trollhättan, I realise where she was heading.
A drawing of enormous proportions, where pencil lines of various grey hues form an organic swarm of textual fragments, random words and interrupted sentences; where the text is drawn rather than written, thus problematising both text and drawing. Day-to-day events, existential issues and the most private sphere (her diary) – every thing seems to be included in the text, in the mass of pencil lines. The viewer looks for some kind of statement, but the words are perpetually heading elsewhere, they flow on, both in their reasoning and across the actual paper. But the reflections return perpetually to what is evolving here, the actual writing and drawing, the ongoing now.
In the midst of all the words stands a solitary figure, barefoot and dressed in simple clothes.The figure resembles the artist herself and is making a gesture with her empty, white right hand. The hand – used for writing and drawing, we presume – appears to be presenting itself as a tool and a possibility. The gesture is plain yet enigmatic.
“The cerebral cortex is the most remarkable part of the brain, a thin slice of grey matter, richly convoluted and furrowed. Here, everything that makes us human is born,” Gilice writes. The pencil she draws with also creates a convoluted matter. And in the handling of these substances – her own self and the Other – drawing becomes a truly human-creating action: tender, tentative and giddying.
The mood is melancholy, yes, but if we take a step back in the room and squint up at the drawing, the bare white patches resemble flickers of sunlight on a dark sea.