You Are Not Outside

I returned to France for a second residency with DRAWinternational in 2016. The artist studios there were in a disused Gendarmerie that, as well as a prison, had also been the family home of the local policeman.

I was struck by the Blue Studio that was still papered in a pale blue, traditional floral design. I could imagine how its illusion of delicacy and order would offer retreat from the rural realities outside. But somehow it jarred, and I wanted to respond to the feelings this room had animated in me. I took a 15m roll of mulberry paper (made from pounded mulberry tree fibers), and drew a continuous frottage path drawing along a favoured route .

Out of this drawing I made a paper dress, using a vintage pattern that evoked the period and decoration found in the Blue Studio. I finished it with ink-dipped grass buttons and then hung it on a coat hanger from the door frame. Although dislocated from the outside environment just as the room is, its decoration is drawn literally from the external terrain and provokes engagement with the materiality of the natural environment rather than presenting only an illusion of it.

 © 2020 by Laura Donkers

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