The Exchange Project opens in the form of half made books and loose prints of the drawings chosen by the other artist for the exchange. (This statement is as unresolved as we were when we met for the exchange).

The idea was to respond to the drawings that we had chosen from each other’s set of works. These were reproduced in the form of prints using the household printer.

As we meet to receive our selected works, we discuss the stories of individual works and go home flooded with ideas and initial responses.

But I realised, ‘slow-brewing’ is my way of functioning in this collaboration. I spent a lot of time staring at these books and prints as the narrative or response slowly formed.

I start to feel myself moving between the formal idea of drawing, book making, the parts I want to elaborate on and the book as a three-dimensional sculpture. How a certain structure or format can restrict the movement and what are the most efficient ways to master over this structure itself.

While ‘in’ the project we were constantly moving between two mind spaces. That where we were responding in isolation and that when we were exchanging progress through social media.

Technology had already intervened the project in the form of a printer. The reproducer of the drawings. I further expanded the intervention by photoshopping some works. My interest was ‘repetition’, making collages of repeated drawings. The books now started to look sculpture like.

The physical space became the new area of enquiry. What does space do to a drawing? What does space do to a person? Can new narratives arise as soon as the drawing is placed in different spaces? What is my role as a viewer? What is my role as a drawer in this space?  

Why do I feel like an ant when I am in the Qutub Minar complex? How do time, space, and history act upon us as when we are drawing. And how the change of this physical space can suddenly break the conversation? 

The drawing can be a documentation of space and time. How drawing was used in the past when details couldn’t be photographed and printed? How the relevance of drawing has moved from documentation of real time incidents to those that are abstract. A sensitive drawer, in today’s time, would draw to document but might also be interested in documenting that what is invisible. I think this is where I would position my responses.

The narratives I developed swing between dream and reality. While I imagine being thrown from earth to enter cake-land, my dreams are disturbing enough to wake me up between sleep.

The exchange project brings out the abstraction in my mind in the form of responses. I could see my self in the interventions I made. The books leave one sitting on a swinging pendulum. They are not at rest, they are constantly running.

By the end of the fixed time period, the books are supposed to be returned to the artist who’s drawing prints I was responding to. But that what was lost in this process was ownership. Who’s book is it after all? The height of the collaboration was reached.

The conclusive feeling was that of a conversation that is still running. As if the commentary came to a pause and will resume shortly.

-snigdha tiwari