Collection online

drawing

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    2002,0928.18

  • Description

    Untitled; abstract shapes composed of lines, spirals and deliberate smudges. 2002 Ink on vellum and mylar

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 2002
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 482 millimetres
    • Width: 557 millimetres
  • Curator's comments

    The artist spoke of her work with the freelance curator and writer Franklin Sirmans (former United States editor for 'Flash Art International' magazine) in 2001 [published in the 'New York Times, 9 December 2001 (Arts & Leisure Section)]; "Part of my work is about mapping. I like the idea that everything fits into a structure with a map or an architectural plan, but part of it also about mapping who I am, and that's a little more complicated. My parents come from historically opposing points of ethnicity: Polish Jew; English; Lynchburg, Virginian; Amharic, Tigre and Eritrean, but somehow they came together to make me. I was painting [in the early 1990s] mushy abstractions with tons of paint and tons of marks. Eventually it made sense to me that, unless I was going to wait tables and party with wannabe models forever, I had to get my act together. So I decided to apply to art schools and I went to the Rhode Island School of Design. I am hoping that the paintings [of the early 2000s] operate in the Baroque, over-the-top epic narrative. I look at them as current historical narrative paintings, pulling from the likes of Delacroix. The paintings are a way of navigating, not just a painting, and all the historical weight of pictures, but a narrative filled with urgency and optimism like a strange dream."

    Label text from 2016-18, Sep-Jan touring exhibition, 'Lines of Thought'
    Mehretu's drawing enacts a dialogue between tracings from architectural
    plans or maps and her own abstract marks and characters. In this way this drawing is built up on the transparent Mylar like a kind of palimpsest. The range of visual language - from the meteorological and seismographic, to the organic and gestural - is incredibly varied, evoking contours, isobars, plans, outlines and cross-sections as well as smudges, clouds, ripples and waves. Mehretu has described her works as operating like 'narrative maps without a specific place or location'. [C. de Zegher, 'Julie Mehretu: Drawings', New York: Rizzoli, 2007, p. 33.]

    Literature: C. de Zegher, 'Julie Mehretu: Drawings', New York: Rizzoli, 2007, p. 79, pl. 31.

    More 

  • Location

    Not on display (American Framed Basement XXc)

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited 2010-11 Oct-April BM, Picasso to Julie Mehretu (no cat.)
    2016 3 Sep - 6 Nov, Poole Museum, 'Lines of thought: Drawing from Michelangelo to now', no. 54
    2017 1 Jan - 25 Feb, The Brynmor Jones Library Art Gallery, University of Hull, 'Lines of thought: Drawing from Michelangelo to now', no. 54
    2017 12 Mar - 5 May, Ulster Museum, Belfast, 'Lines of thought: Drawing from Michelangelo to now', no. 54
    2017 May - Sep, New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, 'Lines of thought: Drawing from Michelangelo to now', no. 54
    2017-2018 Oct - Jan, RISD Museum, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, 'Lines of thought: Drawing from Michelangelo to now', no. 54

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    2002

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number

    2002,0928.18

Untitled; abstract shapes composed of lines, spirals and deliberate smudges.  2002 Ink on vellum and mylar

Recto

Untitled; abstract shapes composed of lines, spirals and deliberate smudges. 2002 Ink on vellum and mylar

reproduced by permission of the artist © The Trustees of the British Museum

Image description

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Object reference number: PDO40370

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