2017 – Just Drawing This Line

A process / project exploring the line between studio practice and exhibiting / performing, as well as contemplating the motive forces behind an artistic practice.


Opening ceremony / performance “Just Drawing This Line”. 40 min. Garden of Margaret van Eyck Academie. Photos: Eun Lee.

26.6.2017 via van Eyck e-mail:


Hello everyone! With this letter I’d like to share some thoughts, introduce a project and invite you all  to the garden in front of the Wilhelmina Minis-van de Geijn Lab to follow a performance ”Just Drawing This Line”  at 17.30 this Wednesday 28th of June. Duration of the performance is 40 minutes. It’s a spontaneous try-out and a small opening ceremony for “a project” through which I explore the line between studio work and exhibiting, and contemplate the motive forces of an artistic practice. The project is not really an event or even a project, it is just a visible ongoing process of my studio practice. And then again it is an event as I’m inviting you to watch what I’m doing and that will undoubtedly change my actions.

This idea came up as a result of just selfish wondering how to go on in my work. I’ve felt being a bit stuck after the Open Studios, thinking what to do with all this time just working on my own with not so many ideas and no deadlines ahead in a very near future. It also feels wrong that the artistic work would be meaningful only when doing it for an exhibition. But it is true that my energy and focus is much higher and stronger under those circumstances and this kind of luxurious freedom and time I’m enjoying at the moment can make me lazy in a frustrating way. Though it was also needed for this idea to cook up and makes sense as I often find myself starting from ”nothing”. So after many months staying with this uncomfortable feeling and spending my time in the studio not doing much I decided to built a structure that I hope will push me to enter some new unknown areas through physical practice of drawing.

And what comes to the invitation, part of this structure is making it visible and accessible for you. That means I will keep my door open and let you in. I’ll be happy if you want to drop by and have a quick look or sit down and take your time, have a coffee break or whatever you like. I have no idea what is going to happen, so it’ll be a surprise. It’s very exciting, but it’s also horrifying to show this insecurity to others.  I miss the certain feeling of risk taking, openness and drive, being a bit scared if it’s going to be just embarrassing, but at the same time you feel you have to do it anyway. And I need an intense physical work, using the body, making things with hands, repetition, and then discipline and a situation that pushes me to do it. This realization might have come up here at van Eyck because of time and freedom, but I guess also because of the institute. From the beginning of my residency I’ve had a feeling that van Eyck is quite focused on thinking, analyzing and research. In this environment the need of bodily practice has somehow quite naturally become more and more clear and urgent for me. 

Well, this this letter turned out to be way too long and slightly dramatic so thank you for your patience and warmly welcome to the garden on Wednesday evening and to step into my studio 201 whenever the door is open and you feel like it, starting from Monday 3rd of July. I haven’t set an ending date so this will go on until I decide to stop, including some traveling breaks in between. Maybe I’ll set more specific schedule later or not, but let this be the first announcement and invitation. I’d be very happy also to hear your experiences and thoughts on these topics adduced above.

best wishes, Maria

In the end I’d like to share a short quotation from the book ”The Zen Path Through Depression” by Philip Martin as I think it fits well:

”In Buddhism the body is rightly perceived as the means through which we achieve enlightenment. Yet our technology aims increasingly at making the body obsolete. Today we often ignore one of our bodies’ most basic needs, the need to be of use. We drive instead of walking. We get takeout instead of cooking. We throw our soiled dishes in a dishwasher. We shave quickly with an electric razor rather than feel the pleasure of a lather brush against our face, the weight of a razor in our hand. These and other devices are sold to us with the promise of making a pleasure out of what was once drudgery. In fact, all they do is make these tasks faster; the tasks themselves remain neither pleasure nor drudgery. The real pleasure lies in the activity, in feeling mindfully the sensations of doing just that activity — in doing just what we are doing, so wholeheartedly, so fully, that the simple activity fills the whole universe.”

© Maria Pääkkönen