Inspired by the notion of the human body as drawing tool – and more specifically, as compass – Zirkel (which means compass in German) is an ongoing and open-ended collaborative project by Mexican artists Vanessa Enríquez and Ilya Noé.
The artists experiment with sequences of circular bodily movements using chalk on blackboards. The possibility to erase their gestural inscriptions allows them to investigate freely and learn from the process through a continuous response to each other and the material, resulting in a graphical grammar of motion and notation that continues to be developed, re-calibrated and adapted as new types of movements are introduced into their shared drawing practice.
Through the methodical exploration of angles, rotations, extents and limitations of different joints, and the repetition of specific gestures and sequences, the artists are able to trace and overlay their particularities and differences, as well as locate and measure the subtle variations of their movements and positions across time. In other words, the artists become compasses, and their resulting drawings, videos, photographs, notations and working notes become diagnostic maps.
In the context of their exhibition at the AC Institute, Zirkel (1+2) will present a selection from their first two series of experiments.
Vanessa Enriquez is a multidisciplinary artist focusing mainly in the meditative practice of drawing, whether by puncturing paper or by involving her whole body. A former student of ballet and contemporary dance, and trained as a designer, she draws upon these past experiences to explore her interest in repetition and gesture, contemplation and collaboration, language and pattern. Prior to focusing on her own artistic practice, she collaborated on notorious editorial projects, among them the book-object Wirrwarr with German architect Jürgen Mayer H., and the publication Miguel Calderón with Mexican artist Miguel Calderón, which was selected as one of the 30 most influential photobooks of the decade by Martin Parr. She graduated with a Master in Fine Arts from Yale University and was awarded the Bradbury Thompson Memorial Prize in 2000. Her work has been exhibited in Berlin, Boston, Hong Kong and Mexico City.
Ilya Noé is a visual/performance artist, researcher and curator based in Berlin. Born and raised in Mexico City, she pursued a gymnastics career until an injury altered her course. At 19 she moved to NYC to study art and has been tracing lines and building spaces by hand and on foot ever since. Ilya represented Mexico in Venice’s OPEN 2000, is a UNESCO-Aschberg Laureate, and was recipient of a National Young Art Award. Invited to the European Landscape Biennial (Barcelona) and twice to the International Art Biennial of Cerveira (Portugal), she has been in-residence at prestigious institutions such as the Banff Center for the Arts (Canada) and the Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik (Berlin). Her work is represented in European and North American public collections. She is currently working on her PhD in Performance Studies focusing on collaboration as a distinct way of knowing and making.