Jorrit Paaijmans: Movement in Time

Drawing is often described as an expressive art form that exposes the hand of the artist unmediated. By contrast, Jorrit Paaijmans [NL] is not interested in showing anything personal in his drawings. In his search towards a more objective manner of drawing, he has gradually erased his own artist’s hand from the drawing process entirely.

Paaijmans’ work is best described as an in-depth exploration of the drawing discipline in the broadest sense of the word. His aim for an objective, formally abstract way of drawing urged him to radically move away from traditional drawing materials and techniques. He started to make drawings on paper with makeshift tools such as a syringe [Algorythm#01, 2009], which over time developed into proper instruments like a semi-automatic pendulum installation [Prototype#02, 2009] and also experimented with drawing in a performative setting [Prototype#03, 2010]. In his explorations, Paaijmans’ focus shifted from the result - the drawing itself - to the process of drawing. While investigating the act of making a drawing and dissecting this process, Paaijmans deconstructs drawing itself to its basic elements.

Linearis Objectum No.1 | kinetic installation | mechanics-electronics | 2016

Paaijmans expresses with his series of work Automatic Signum [2013-2015] that a drawing is essentially a registration of movement in time. A dot is created with a single movement in a single moment; the length of a line reflects the duration of the contact between pen and paper; the articulation of the line indicates how much pressure has been applied, or what the thickness or the angle of the pen has been; a pattern reflects the repetition of movement over a certain length of time. Automatic Signum consists of five drawing devices, Linear, Punctatum, Circular, Quattor Punctatum and Curvarum Linearum. With these fully automated mechanical sculptures, Paaijmans radically replaced the movement of his human drawing hand with mechanics. Each device explores a different basic formal aspect of drawing: dot, line or plane. Paaijmans taught himself to engineer and manufacture these intricate mechanical devices, employing technology as a means to understand the essence of the discipline.

With his recent works Rhombi movens [2015] and Linearis Objectum [2016] Paaijmans focusses on the drawing line, deploying it as an autonomous object. These installations both play with the eye of the beholder, using composition, linear perspective and shadow to create abstract patterns of line arrangements. With these works he has further developed the scale of his work from sculpture to installation.

Automatic Signum V – curvarum linearum | Drawing installation | mechanics-electronics | 2016

Rhombi Moventes | kinetic installation | mechanics-electronics | 2015

Although his recent works take the shape of mechanical sculptures, Paaijmans still has the mind and eye of a drawer. Drawing has always been both the topic of his research and at the same time the tool he uses to investigate it. Paaijmans uses the term hyperdrawing to describe his practice, indicating his inclusive perspective on drawing: to identify drawing as a medium that stretches across any and all material approaches, a medium that originates from, but is no longer defined or restricted by the trinity of hand, drawing material and paper. As such, hyperdrawing indicates Paaijmans’ point of departure as much as his ambition. While exploring the artistic possibilities of mechanics, he questions and in doing so, actually changes the definition of what drawing is or can be. Ultimately it is his intention to provoke the viewer to question the essence of drawing and the possibilities of the discipline.

Hyperdrawing: Beyond the lines of contemporary art, edited by Sawdon, P. Marshall, R., 2012, Loughborough University.

Being trained as a drawer at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht, Dutch independent artist Jorrit Paaijmans [1979] has explored the drawing medium in both theory and practice.

As co-founder of artist-run space DasSpectrum and founder of IMG-SRC gallery in Utrecht [NL], Paaijmans organized events and curated several exhibitions. Currently Paaijmans lives and works in The Hague [NL]. He fulfills the position of board member at Maakhaven, the collectively run DIY studio space for artists and artisans, where he has a studio and is also involved with self-organized exhibition space W139 in Amsterdam [NL].