• The graphic construct of the contemporary reportage artist: Vison, experience and drawing

Netter, Louis, 2020, Thesis, The graphic construct of the contemporary reportage artist: Vison, experience and drawing PhD thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

The focus of this research is to re-locate contemporary reportage drawing. Reportage drawing, as I am defining it here, is the contemporary practice of drawing people and places in-situ from observation, memory, or imagination. Cleaved from its historical function and journalistic orientation, the contemporary practice engages with the dialogic act of drawing and the subjectivities that pervade it, rendering two-fold experience; the experience of the subject in-situ and in the act of drawing. The re-creative experience of the drawing act and the communion with the artist’s negotiations in-situ are entered through the graphic construct of the artist. The record of the drawing evokes this complexly layered act, rendering a highly specific experience of the subject.

This view of reportage drawing is distinct from existing research in that it looks at its form and formation using art history, drawing theorists, theory on experience, and space and place.
Looking at the role of observation and artistic training from an art historical perspective, the act is seen as emerging from the practice of the sketch and how that aesthetic, and the perception of that aesthetic as spontaneous and responsive, is an exploited property of reportage. Existing research in reportage has looked at its diverse functions and history along with its potential as a political act. The research presented here explores the act as rooted to the specific graphic construct of the artist, the totality of the experience in-situ, and the wider intentions of the artist, bound by the same desire to relay the experience of the subject without artifice.

In the presence of photography and a fluid media landscape, reportage drawing persisted through the 20th and now 21st century not as a competitor, but an alternative, and the graphic construct of reportage drawing has taken ownership of a unique testimony to personal experience and perception.
Through interviews with two contemporary practitioners of reportage and my own reportage practice and reflections, I identify that the work is the composite of concerns, condensed in the graphic construct of the drawing, and shaped by the layered experience of working in-situ. Interviews and a video of artists in-situ highlight the procedural choices made and how the drawings are containers of experience in their form and formation. The successful record of the drawing results in a re-creative experience of the conditions of its making and an insight into the experience of the artist in-situ. Detached from journalistic ideals, contemporary reportage drawing is a diffuse practice, sharing only the singular desire to express personal vision and engage with the potentialities of drawing itself.

Qualification Name: PhD
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art > W110 Drawing
Creative Arts and Design > W900 Others in Creative Arts and Design
School or Centre: School of Communication
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2020 11:32
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2020 11:32
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/4441
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