Tuesday, 14 May 2013

"I am making you a drawing"



Plantu rarely seems happier than when he gets the chance to verbally share what he is putting on paper as part of his act of drawing.


Screenshot from the video underneath

This little video is from a series of eight made for the International Women's Day on March 8 this year in which he would take out an old drawing to study the how and why it came about:







And so Plantu would not be Plantu unless he immediately reached for a pen to continue drawing with one arm energetically on what has just been made and often still wet. His forte is in drawing as process; he is the narrator from whom new facets of the tale constantly sprout onto the paper until the whole surface is covered. As his beholders we meet a drawing consisting of a central problem or question from which has developed chains of ideas each of which has spawned a new one that in its place has produced another. Each of them reflecting an aspect of the original problem put onto paper, with the chains of ideas twisting and twirling across the plane.

The process has basic similarities to a debate, and as Plantu publishes his daily cartoon on the front page of Le Monde, his drawing equals a written editorial. He draws a first outline of a problem or issue just as a written piece would have been drawn up, discussing the implications while making his own position clear. In all meanings of the word this is proof of the drawing as an intellectual medium. His personal inference is never a final say, instead his pictorial signature is a mouse running everywhere wondering, examining and exposing and thus adding to the overall discussion on the picture plane. This is drawing taking place in time, unfolding in space.


Screenshot from the video above

Je te fais un dessin - I am making you a drawing – is one of the most delightful headlines in international cartooning today.


It is of course by Plantu and crowns the full pages of Le Monde, in which he takes a wider view on specific topics each time bringing together the takes from a handful of cartoonists. The cartoonists all represent the Cartooning for Peace of the United Nations, of which Plantu and Kofi Annan were the founding fathers. Cartooning for Peace is in fact a true offspring of the UN in that it has created a platform for dialogue not least among the professional cartoonists themselves. 

Until recently cartoon art was defined as a national medium, something only to be understood within its own national borders. Tacit cultural codes including humor - and all that. Now the cartoonists define themselves internationally, which is not just a consequence of the social media, but the simple fact that they have come to know each other personally.


The drawing before us was made 30 years ago and is now getting new heads next to the original to show how the attitude to women has changed all too little. The sparing number of lines emphasize how the woman is a type, just as the man is one in his gravity, and so they are both redrawn next to their original aspects to show how and what they stand for.

Screenshot from the video above
A drawing from his hand is never a given. It is a process, continuously happening.


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