On Monday 22nd March we held the second group drawing workshop at Medical Museion. I was joined by five others to draw one of the artefacts from the ‘6 ting og sager’ exhibition. The specimen is the skeleton of a young child who had suffered with Rickets or ’English disease’ as it is known here.
What was most noticable about the morning was the intense silence. We are used to sitting for a couple of hours at the cinema or in front of the tv. but it is rare to be amongst a group of people who spent two hours staring at a single, static object.
The drawing session allowed those who had already seen the specimen to re-see it in a new way and offered a new experience for those who had never seen it before. All found they saw more and more detail the longer they spent looking and drawing. The glass case housing the specimen became an issue. It is as much part of the object as the specimen within but the significance of the affect it has on the display is not always apparent. The activity raised questions about distortion and distraction and the effects of the shifting reflections and refractions caused by the glass.
The old chestnut of the ubiquitous skull also came up. We all think we know what a skull looks like but can we be sure this is what this particular skull we were observing looked like? The whole group recognized the need to look at the object and try not to draw what we imagined we saw.
Each group of drawings by each individual shows not only their developing understanding of the object they were observing, but shows to us as viewers how differently we all saw the object. Everyones’ responses, focus on detail and areas of interest differ from eachother yet the object is equally recognizable as the same object we all saw and drew.
By spending these hours with the artefact each of us found new details to see and drew our way into trying to understand the materiality of what we were looking at, making it clearer to ourselves and offering fresh insights to others.
All the drawings can be seen at http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucylyons/sets/72157623684073972