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← Louise Despont: Drawing from Life in Bali | Art21 "New York Close Up"

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Showing Revision 1 created 10/16/2019 by Amara Bot.

  1. [Bali, Indonesia]
  2. Because the sun sets at the same time
    all year round in Bali,
  3. there's a sense that time is standing still--
  4. that it's just one long summer.
  5. There's this feeling of peacefulness
  6. and of not feeling rushed.
  7. This routine that is really tied into
    the rhythm of the world around you.
  8. [Sound of ducks quacking]
  9. ["Drawing from Life in Bali"]
  10. New York is where I'm from,
    and it's where I grew up,
  11. and it's still where
    I will always come back to.
  12. But I also know that the most important thing
    to make good work
  13. is time
  14. and space.
  15. Living in Bali,
  16. that's where I was going to
    have the most of it.
  17. I wake up around 6:30
  18. because the sunrise is so bright.
  19. By 8:30, I start setting things up
    in the studio.
  20. The cat gets locked outside
    so that he doesn't run all over the drawings.
  21. Nopi and Wiwik would arrive at 9:00,
  22. --Draw from here to here?
  23. --Yeah.
  24. and Nyoman around 10:30
    to do the offerings for the house.
  25. It's this nonstop flow of
    ceremonies and rituals.
  26. Everybody is tending to the energy
    of the island.
  27. Everybody is feeding it.
  28. In Bali, there are these temples
    built around naturally occurring springs.
  29. You approach the water and have this feeling
  30. of deep reverence and deep respect
  31. for this place and this substance.
  32. And then, that you get to go inside of it
    is really powerful--
  33. this feeling of going down and going in.
  34. The next day, I always felt
    that something had been let go of--
  35. that something really had been washed off
    that I was carrying around.
  36. I wanted to be able to draw something
    from that experience--
  37. to try and make a visual memory.
  38. Drawing is not something that flourishes
    in the tropics.
  39. Paper will not last.
  40. The air is extremely humid,
  41. so many pages are going to warp in a few days.
  42. I was able to have this
    very simple glass case made
  43. so I could put a small dehumidifier in.
  44. Anything that I wasn't currently working on
    would just stay in there.
  45. Penestanan was a small village
    that was built by
  46. the community of traditional Balinese artists.
  47. Expats started moving there
  48. and things started to develop
    further into the rice fields.
  49. There was a big footprint that happened
  50. from all of us tourists being there.
  51. In just the three years that I've been there,
    I've seen it change a lot.
  52. But life manages to go on somehow,
  53. uninterrupted by it.
  54. I had moved to this new country
    and I didn't have any friends there.
  55. The scariest part was
    my relationship had ended,
  56. and I wasn't sure how I could make the work
    not being in love,
  57. because it always felt like
    love brought so much exuberance
  58. and that was really the source for my drawings
  59. for a very long time--
  60. at least for what I considered to be
    my best work.
  61. And I just thought,
  62. "I don't know if I can draw if I'm sad."
  63. "I don't know if I can draw if I'm depressed."
  64. "I don't know if I can draw when I'm fearful."
  65. And, actually, it was so nice to be able to
    have drawing,
  66. because it was like the one part of my life
    that was still the same.
  67. Me in the studio with paper
  68. was there whether or not I was in a relationship.
  69. It's definitely not as easy as
    when you're in love,
  70. but it's possible,
  71. and it's so nice to have a practice
    that sustains you.
  72. [The Drawing Center, SoHo, Manhattan]
  73. When I had the opportunity to
    do the show at The Drawing Center,
  74. I wanted to imagine energy
    taking a form of a physical body.
  75. I drew an embryo forming.
  76. I looked at some scientific diagrams
    of how cells divide,
  77. and then just sort of follow that
    through a life--
  78. finishing at the disintegration of the body
  79. and return to formlessness.
  80. I knew I wanted to do this oval room
    that was one big drawing
  81. and in the same air as you were.
  82. That it was fragile but it held together.
  83. Having the work unframed was this
    really nice aspect of vulnerability.
  84. That was really how I'd felt
    that year back in Bali:
  85. super vulnerable.
  86. Aaron composed the music in the space
    for the drawings.
  87. It was this sort of very sparse compositions
  88. that felt like a slow breath.
  89. And, really, I think it was
  90. the sound of Aaron's gamelans
    that gave this very peaceful atmosphere
  91. where people kind of felt this sanctuary
    that they had stepped into,
  92. having come off the street.
  93. I know, for myself,
  94. even when I come across
    something that I love--
  95. that maybe I've travelled far to go see--
  96. sometimes you only spend
    thirty seconds in front of it.
  97. I was really thinking about
  98. how much time we spend
    in front of a work of art.
  99. And I always wanted to make an atmosphere
    where someone would have long enough
  100. to travel through the drawings in their mind.
  101. I realized that that moment is actually
    more beautiful to me than any finished drawing,
  102. because it's the potential of a drawing
    that I'm never actually able to make.
  103. [Since filming,
    Louise met someone new and they had a child.]
  104. [They still live in Bali.]