To Draw a Line

Janine Antoni2003



Since the early 1990s, Janine Antoni has been making sculptures, photographs, and videos that fuse an interest in the formal elements of art (such as line, shape, texture, form, process) with personal issues of the self, resulting in an exploration of gender politics and identity. Her works are often at once beautiful and unadorned, gentle and rigorous, poetica and political. Most of her sculptures take form as the result of performances, but they are not residue or artifacts. To Draw a Line (2003), consists of a heavy rope stretched taut and suspended between the two industrial-size spools it is wrapped around. On one end the rope is woven into a ladder that reaches to the floor, ending in a huge, unraveled cloud-like mass positioned between the spools like some dreamy protective pillow. When the work was first exhibited, the artist completed the sculpture by climbing the ladder and walking the rope like an acrobat, pausing in the center until she lost balance and fell into the unraveled mass, which cushioned her fall. The performance was essential to the very conception of the sculpture, with each of its component parts serving a necessary function, while also providing metaphorical depth. The story of the making of each of Antoni's works is somehow told by the works themselves, and how their present form suggests past actions. By taking utilitarian materials and ordinary actions and giving them another use, the artist questions the very meaning of "use." To Draw a Line is about much more than simply walking the line in the air that the rope traces; it is about the journey of life, its experiences and their consequences, as well as the journey of art, and the search for meaning that art and life share.

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  • Title: To Draw a Line
  • Date Created: 2003
  • Multimedia artist: Janine Antoni
  • Type: Installation
  • Rights: Inhotim Collection, Brazil, Eduardo Eckenfels
  • Medium: Mixed media


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