Walks through the mind – recent sketch books, Nina Annabelle Märkl

The sketchbook collects drawings, texts and spontaneous impressions, it combines different places, scenes, both concept and intuition. The Images shown here asssemble recent drawings from about the last two years or so.

Recently I went through my sketchbooks that accompanied me during the last 8 or ten years. I found 17 books, black, all in the same size.

I went through motives, concepts and places that shaped my perception during the last decade. I found recurring motives and thoughts.

Wandering through a body of sketchbooks feels like taking a walk within your own mind.

For me the sketchbooks have the function of a fixed hard disc. They are like external branches of my brain.

They connect structured and conceptual parts, ephemeral findings, random thoughts and notes.

Within a book – I usually start with the drawings from the beginning of the book and with writing and concepts from the back until both branches meet somewhere in the middle – drawings and texts seem to form a story.

But the way in which they get together is a different one. The perception is different.

While drawing into a book I always jump back and forth between the pages. A book is like a universe, a network of different thoughts and motives which recur within the drawing and writing process. If it might be a story, it is a quite nonlinear one.

Going through the books is like looking at a photo album.

What I`m currently doing is to find the connections of motif through different books. It`s like going through my folders in my computer. I make copies of the digitalized photos trying to organize them into different structures. Couples of images. Networks of images and motives. Things belong to very different contexts at the same time. They change their meaning. Changing their meaning they reveal their space of possibility.

Changing their meaning they broaden my perception on the world, they sharpen my senses for a deeper look.

Taken out of the sketchbooks thoughts and images become comparable, they form clusters, they develop narrations of their own throughout the years. Thoughts are recurring. You always come back to the same place, the same platform, it’s like wandering through a labyrinth structure and finding yourself, in a moment of reflection, always back at the starting point. And though the place is a different one. Albert Camus wrote that Sisyphos must have been a happy person.

I am mostly happy when I am into things trying to discover new facets of the kaleidoscope I live in, the things I see, the things that surround me. The space is the same, and though it shifts.

A day with a new discovery is a happy one, a new discovery of things you see day by day. I try to keep my view on the world as a view, that is a new one each and every day. Knowing that I only know a little, barely nothing about the things and their qualities. Everything is complex. And I enjoy this complexity.

Whatever we can say whatever we can do we will never ever leave that room…what are we going to do bout this”… a line of a song by “The Notwist”, end of the 90ies. We try to take measurements. We try to describe this room, this space called life from different angles. We try to look in detail. We like to see the ground of things but as deeper we look the deeper things become. Like fatamorganas. Like fog on contact lenses. My eyes are like bouncing cats, they sharpen their claws as soon as I try to close my eyes.

I love the expression of a body of work. It makes me calm as it ties things together. It takes their inner logic serious, knowing, that things are connected deeply. The sketchbooks, the mushrooms, the trees, the human beings. The sketchbook drawings are like micromomentaneous expressions, like fingertips in the dark, trying to capture the rests fallen off from a day, a constellation within life. I look for odd one out situations. “There`s a crack in everything – that`s how the light gets in” sings Leonar Cohen in one of his songs.

The predetermined breaking points, within a day, a place, an object – the moment in which things show their fragility and their inner shape. The inner shape of things, people and places.

I collect them and tie them together to give them a place of their own.

  1. Avatar photo
    Laura Salerno

    Nina, looking at your sketches to me it was like watching a dance performance. The movement and that transformaions of the bodies and images is just amazing! Also I wrote in my notebook, this idea by Camus that Sisyphos was a happy person which is a total different take on the ideia of Sisyphos I’ve had. To read about you getting back to your starting point and Sisyphos getting back to his starting point, go me the perception that this quaratine is also putting me in contact, if not presenting to me, my starting point. Thank you for that and for Leonard Cohen’s quotation, it made me thing about Aba’s (other artist in residency) take on pain, on her last post. And also got me thinking that value cracks might no be a bad thing. I don’t know. Besides all of that, I’m a brazilian artist here in residency, trying to get to know the other artists and using the platform itself to create, which now I’ve been asking people “Who is your Bolsonaro?”, if you get an interesnt in answering it, it will help me to continue. Take care,

    1. Nina Annabelle Märkl
      Nina Annabelle Märkl

      Dear Laura,
      thank you so much for your message, and sorry for my late reply. I was quite concerned with preparing the talk last week. Yes, this time is a lot about getting back to substance of things, each and every day. Camus compared the archetype of Sisyphos to the work of an artist’s life, and the way how artists always come back to their topics and starting points starting to work on them for a new and a new and a new. And I thought this image has to do a lot to do with the times we are living through.
      I would love to read more about your project, so please let’s stay in contact.
      Take care! Best wishes, Nina

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