Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Draughtsman's Contract: The Old Station

The first step towards creating a project that utilised Dunkeld's derelict station began with an attempt to capture the likeness of the building through a series of carefully constructed drawings.

I had for many years been interested in the old station building, and had also recently discovered Peter Greenaway’s 1982 film 'The Draughtsman’s Contract'. So after receiving developmental funding from Next Wave, I set about constructing my own version of the drawing apparatus, which appeared in Greenaway’s film.

After some research I discovered that the apparatus is called a proportional divider, and was
used by draughtsman in the 17th Century to determine perspective by fixing the eye of the artist in one point which directly co-responded to a carefully gridded picture plane.

After constructing an equivalent device, from an old camera tripod, cotton and wood, I set about
experimenting with it by drawing various views of the old station. I followed a similar approach to Greenaway’s protagonist, by drawing for only short periods (2 hours) in each position, at exactly the same time each day. I chose days with strong light in order to capture the most contrast between light and shade.

Through the use of the proportional divider, I tried my hardest to draw what
I saw, rather than what I knew to be in front of me.

I completed five drawings of the old station, including two of the dilapidated interior. I then began tackling other buildings in town that looked similarly neglected, or abandoned.

Ultimately these drawings helped me to clearly visualise the space. In the end these drawings did feature in the first exhibition held at the station (The Puma, The Stranger & The Mountain) but since then I have not returned to this method of working.

A short film which I constructed using my drawings (a kind of homage to Peter Greenaway) can be seen at the following site...

No comments: