Paulo Freire de Almeida
5th Drawing Lesson
Looking Ahead – Hypotheses for the actuality of the practice of observation drawing
Observation drawing has been one of the most common practices in the occidental academic practice. However, its importance and significance directs "observation" to a level which is subsidiary to representation, copy and to the figurative heritage of the visual tradition. Frequently, expressions such as "observation drawing", "representation drawing", "drawing from life" – or, in a foreign language, disegno dall' vero – are applied in an undifferentiated fashion. As a source of representation, the practice of observation sees itself currently surpassed by safer and prompter means, namely the digital archive available on the Internet. The easy access to a diverse range of representations and images substitutes the slow process of observation.
Nevertheless, while a "representation drawing" or a "life-drawing" emphasize on the physical nature of the external world, the expression "observation drawing" focuses on the individual process of perceiving the world, which depends on the physiological conditions of the subjectivity and the psychological states which develop simultaneously to the registering of the images.
The evaluation of observational data tends to produce a conflict with the solid and tangible presence of the objects, taking to the dematerialization and abstraction of their limits in fields of light and shadow. In other words, the ‘observation drawing’ leads paradoxically to a subversion of the canonical representations and disturbs the figurative universe of each culture.
In this way, a hypothesis emerges, in which the primary role of observation drawing does not concern the knowledge of the world, but self knowledge. Thus, observation drawing constitutes a way to deconstruct the collective representations and figures that each subject receives from his culture while contributing to deepen his own subjective process of reconfiguring the world.
Paulo Freire de Almeida
Born in Rio de Janeiro, 1968. Completed his BA in Painting at the School of Fine Arts, University of Oporto (1994). Since 1998 he has participated in various exhibitions with photographic and digital work. He has also published various texts on drawing and art criticism, namely in the magazine PSIAX, edited by EAUM, FAUP and FBAUP. He has worked as a Drawing Lecturer at the School of Architecture, University of Minho, since 1997, where he also completed a PhD in 2008.
He has dedicated substantial research work to investigate the use of drawing as a projectual tool, namely in architecture. Since his PhD, initiated in 2005, that he has also been focusing on the conditions of observation and perception in the graphic process, emphasizing the criticial and distinct conditions between subjective observation and an educated representation of forms.
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