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Drawing the letter

Reifenstein, Tilo (2018) Drawing the letter. Drawing: Research, Theory, Practice, 3 (2). pp. 171-186.

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Abstract

Considering a drawn letter in one of Raymond Pettibon’s works, the article seeks to unravel the putatively facile distinction between drawing and writing. It asserts that the lack of iconic ‘motivation’ of alphabetic characters does not prevent them from harbouring further meanings that are indissociable from their form. The article thus questions the persistent legibility–visibility dichotomy in which writing’s letters are trapped between mere allography, whose graphic appearance beyond readability is irrelevant, and sign, whose semantic value is constituted multiply through its verbal and pictural qualities. Instead, this binary logic is displaced through the recognition of the mark that is both drawn and written, yet irreducible to either, and thus capable of pointing beyond itself and yet refer to its own form. In showing how the mark in Pettibon’s drawing may be read and viewed in multiple non-exclusive ways, the shared graphic capacity of writing and drawing is highlighted. The article promotes a perspective on writing that requires the acknowledgement of its graphic form without demanding a new dubious graphology. The writing of the article itself continuously engages its own inextricable entanglement in the issues discussed by accentuating the play that writing already entails if it is also seen and not merely read.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1386/drtp.3.2.171_1
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
N Fine Arts > NC Drawing Design Illustration
School/Department: School of Art, Design & Computer Science
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/3651

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