Drawing as mark-making: Random International and Simon Heijdens in conversation
This Summer Term, the Royal Drawing School continues its series of Creative Conversations; online dialogues between artists, curators and writers. Curated by Dr Claudia Tobin, lectures are held Wednesday evenings live on Zoom.
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The talk will begin with a short introduction to Superblue and the field of experiential art. It will then give way to artists RANDOM INTERNATIONAL and Simon Heijdens who will explore how drawing features in their respective practices. Taking two works as a starting point, Body / Light I (2021) and Waterdrawing (2019), they will consider drawing as an ephemeral experience, rather than as an act of permanent mark-making. With light as primary medium, both artworks share an ever-changing, dynamic quality that responds to its environment.
Image: RANDOM INTERNATIONAL, Body / Light I, 2021.
Photography by Esteban Schünemann. Courtesy of Random International.
RANDOM INTERNATIONAL was founded in 2005 by Hannes Koch and Florian Ortkrass, and is a Berlin and London-based collaborative studio for experimental practice within contemporary art. Questioning aspects of identity and autonomy in the post-digital age, the group’s work invites active participation through emotional and physical experiences that deconstruct notions of consciousness, perception, and instinct. As AI, biotech, and robotics become rapidly and deeply ingrained in the automation of daily life, their work aims to stimulate wider reflection on the responsive relationships with intangible technologies that underscore the world, while often leaving the question of who is in control open and ambiguous.
RANDOM INTERNATIONAL is best known for Rain Room (2012), an interactive artwork in which the audience remains completely dry while walking through a continuous downpour. The work premiered at the Barbican, London, with further installations around the world from the Museum of Modern Art, New York, to the Yuz Museum, Shanghai. Work by RANDOM INTERNATIONAL is featured in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Image: Simon Heijdens, Waterdrawing, 2013 – ongoing. Courtesy of Simon Heijdens
Simon Heijdens reinterprets natural processes with unique technologies and embeds these in man-made surroundings to create mechanisms that reveal the hidden essence of a place. Meteorological conditions including sunlight and wind, custom algorithms, as well as human interactions transform the artist’s responsive artworks in real time, creating ever-changing forms. While technically complex, his installations are understated and poetic in appearance, seamlessly integrated into their environment. They evolve almost organically into a new kind of nature within urban settings, questioning the importance of nature and coincidence in an increasingly planned world, and offering moments of inquiry, wonder, and contemplation.
Heijdens’ work is featured in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Hong Kong City Council Collection; the Boijmans Museum Rotterdam and the Centraal Museum Utrecht. Notable commissions include Shade at the V&A London (2017) and the Art Institute Chicago (2010), Silent Room (2016) at SXSW in Texas, and Lightweeds for the State Visit of Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands to the US (2015) and to the UK (2018).
Superblue is a new enterprise dedicated to supporting artists in realizing their most ambitious visions and engaging audiences with experiential art. Its network of artists encompasses the leading practitioners of experiential art, whose practices catalyze engagement with the most pressing issues of our time and generate new perspectives on our world. Through its experiential art centers, which are specifically designed for presenting large-scale, immersive art installations, Superblue provides artists with expanded opportunities to transport audiences to the new worlds they create. Superblue additionally acts as an advocate and agent for experiential artists by fostering opportunities for them to expand the reach of their work through collaborations with museums, collectors, visual and performing arts festivals, architects, municipalities, and place-makers. Superblue provides these partners with expertise and support for the production, installation, and presentation of large-scale experiential works, through collaborative presentations, public and private commissions, and acquisitions. In the coming years, Superblue will open new experiential centers across the US and internationally and is developing augmented and virtual reality platforms for artists who are exploring our rapidly evolving relationship with the digital realm.