The continuous hand gesture

Annette Carlsen: Plantu, February 12, 2014.

- it is the continuous hand gesture of the artist that is a precondition for the line in the drawing, the result of which we see when looking at the drawing. And yet we do not take in the final drawing as a unity, already there. We follow the gesture along the picture plane as if the drawing was being made in front of us.

The observation was made by the late philosopher Richard Wollheim and his words are the first that spring to mind when I see Annette Carlsen at work.

Annette Carlsen, Maité Leon, February 12, 2014.

In a crowded room Annette will suddenly have a small book or paper on her lap, sketching quickly and without a sound. To actually catch her in the act of drawing is a rare feat. Her book or paper is put away again as quietly as they were taken out, her analysis of the scene before her already complete.

The continuous line means we are beyond seeing single points of interest, this nose or this scarf, being caught on paper. The specific features are there, but each is connected to the next in the vivacity of the line catching it all. We actually see how Plantu and Maité Leon even in thoughtful moments are taking in what is being said. Annette's continuous hand gesture across the picture plane makes the two of them an active presence before us. 

Annette Carlsen: Kurt Westergaard alongside his wife.
The publisher Francois Barjot is seen standing by the curtain.
 The French Embassy in Copenhagen, February 12, 2014.

Which goes for the listeners as well at the lecture given by Plantu at the French Embassy in the evening of his Masterclass in Copenhagen. Plantu was the epitome of presence, answering questions and improvising as his lecture unfolded. His listeners became as actively present even if in the physical sense they were just listening. Annette has highlighted their foreheads so that we sense their attentiveness in taking part in the here and now of Plantu before them.

The hint of the town outside, with the recognition that this could only have been seen from the angle the Embassy, underlines the intensity of that very same now.

Annette Carlsen, Plantu at the French Embassy in Copenhagen, February 12, 2014.
The drawing as a physicality in which the act of drawing remains inherent, as Wollheim told us. There is a key in this to the explanation of why cartooning is so feared by those who do not wish to see their fellow beings taking an active stance. 

Annette Carlsen, Spectator at the French Embassy in Copenhagen, February 12, 2014.

Thank you, Annette, for another series of masterful drawings, we are utterly spoiled!

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