Drawing, the studio, the motif

For Martial Raysse, drawing represents both mastery of an artistic practice and a disciplne that requires thought. It allows him to compare himself with the art of past masters, such as Leonardo da Vinci and Nicolas Poussin. It is also a way of conceiving one’s actions as ‘hard work’. He says: ‘I learn a skill. Looking a my things, I only want it to say that I have worked and worked… I draw figures until I’ve found the correct posture. Then I make other drawings, to insert them into the overall design. When I’m satisfied, I make photocopies of them, project them onto the canvas, draw the outlines with charcoal and I switch off: I redraw the lines. Then I start to paint’. In Raysse’s work, sketches of the motif are endlessly multiplied and transformed; they capture meticulous impressions of a landscape; and they are prepatory works for monumental group scenes. His drawings also take up themes of traditional painting and break them down with humour; they are collages, fragments of a vision, and preparations for large pictorial compositions. Raysse’s drawings acquire a value in their own right and constitute a multi-formed body of work animated by an enigmatic poetry.