London Drawing took a residency at the Tate Modern, with the lofty aim of reinventing life drawing. Events held at the gallery took the traditionally static discipline and turned it into something more dynamic: workshops in which attendees used methods and materials inspired by the art and artists on display, with classes using music, props and performance to bridge the gap between attendee and exhibit.
"The workshops encouraged direct engagement, insight and understanding of the collections on display," says co-director Anne Noble-Partridge. "We ripped up the life-drawing rulebook and rewrote it in our own way."
Drawing events with music and performers are common now, but were unique at the time of the residency, which was between 2006 and 2011. London Drawing continues to experiment with its classes, while also being committed to teaching the basics to artists of all levels.
The organisation offers life drawing, life painting and still life, among others, each tailored to the abilities of attendees. Classes give technical advice and demonstrations in key areas such as perspective, anatomy, colour and line. Drawing Theatre showcases London Drawing's more experimental side.
"The basic premise is to distil theatre down to interesting and immersive scenes," explains Anne, "then draw them. It also breaks down the barrier between passive audience and performer. The performer becomes a conduit through which to explore ideas, concepts and materials – rewriting the traditional concept of working from the life model."
Anne says they're in talks with English National Opera, planning new events at unique locations. "The Drawing Theatre involves the audience in an immersive experience, where they are a participant in the creative process. This encourages engagement and genuine creativity."
London Drawing (opens in new tab) is a collaboration between professional artists, tutors and performers.
This article originally appeared in ImagineFX (opens in new tab) magazine issue 117.
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