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por Sabine Finkenauer

text for the exhibition Non - Declarative Drawing, in the Drawing Center, New York, September 2007

As far back as I can remember, I have drawn. As a little girl I would draw almost daily, and I continue to do so today.

I don't necessarily draw with an expected result in mind, or to produce an artwork. For me, drawing is also a way of concentrating in my studio, of clarifying my ideas and finding the means of expressing them. I usually have a notebook at hand in which I make all sorts of sketches and which is also a sort of archive of ideas. These small sketches are equally important in the preparation of my oil paintings, which are often large-scale and which constitute another significant aspect of my practice, though over the past few years, drawing has acquired an ever-increasing importance in my oeuvre.

When I work on paper I use pencils and crayons, but I also apply gouache and acrylic paint with a paintbrush. I like simple neutral materials that add no extra feature to the works.

During a good drawing period I don't usually paint pictures. The studio walls are covered in pieces of paper during such spells. I try not to judge them straight away, although I know that most of these drawings will end up in the trash. I don't usually erase or correct, but prefer to turn to a new sheet of paper and try again. I can repeat the same drawing quite often until I'm quite sure about it. I spend a number of hours looking at it, reflecting on and assimilating results that I had initially rejected—sometimes amidst what I have discarded I find a key piece that opens up an entirely new path.

I am in the habit of using a wide range of colors. I apply them according to the emotion they convey and in order to grant the right weight to shapes, rather than because of their representational value. I am not interested in complicated technical procedures or sophisticated materials. What attracts me to drawing is precisely the frugality of the medium, which facilitates a very direct and immediate execution. The quality that underscores the bareness and simplicity of the expression I seek in my work lies in this austerity of resources.

My work generally treats just of "things",objects taken from daily life such as pieces of furniture, dresses, plants, buildings, or mountains. Figures such as little girls, princesses, or dolls that appear to be related to children's stories and imaginary worlds are also present. This whole universe of "things" is portrayed in a simple yet rigorous formal language, playfully situated between abstraction and concrete images. Also leading to poetry and irony, my approach to this seemingly naïve or even stupid imaginary world is clearly formalistic. In my search for the limits of representation, things are divested of their attributes and converted into "form". Form is the true theme of my work—the ambiguity between representation and definition being a sign or symbol that travels in an intimate and subjective way from the visible to the invisible, from what we see to that which exists.