Words don’t come easy, and at times they don’t form at all, and explanations remain unspoken, leaving them to the hands to perform. And the pencil, as a rather passive object, comes to help when all the others—brain, hand, and words—fail to communicate.
To explain a constructive detail or similar complexity to someone else, or yourself, is kind of the same problem and needs the same solution. When words fail, a pencil comes in handy and the hand sketches freely what the brain already knows and makes it understandable for you or your colleagues. A spontaneous sketch can clarify an issue, can free a complex problem from its complexity. If you can’t express yourself with words, a pencil and a few lines are all that is necessary, and at once an efficient, constructive solution is brought forward. It’s a simple observation we all must realize and execute at some point. It’s a form of communication that is very natural at the Kunstgiesserei St.Gallen, too. The workers discuss details or constructive difficulties with clients, or with their colleagues, and quick sketches are almost thoughtlessly drawn on a sheet of paper, or whatever is in reach to draw on. Where do you place a connection, screws, drill holes? Where do you set welds? How should this be lifted, or set down to stand? The sketches to solve these and similar problems are drawn quickly and the papers are often discarded right then, when the solution is found. They’re not for the archives, not to document, but they’re a tool of construction and communication.
This publication is the result of a collection of such quick sketches. Stefan Inauen, one of the workers at the Kunstgiesserei St.Gallen, collects some of his colleagues’ drawings. He does this occasionally, before they end up in the trash, and he keeps them in a pile, and later in an envelope. It’s a spontaneous collection of little snippets, post-its, drawings on photographs or the backs of business cards, or occasionally scraps of the paper tablecloth from the cafeteria. Inauen keeps collecting slowly, but steadily, without much of a purpose, but maybe just in the same way the sketches have come to be in the first place: without much ado, without a specific purposefulness. It’s a charming way to represent the attempt of communication between two people, the attempt to explain something and to understand each other. It’s a very simple, human interaction between you and me, or me and you, with the help of a pencil. A selection of items from Inauen’s collection is reproduced in this publication. This is done without much explanation of what kind of artwork or artist’s project the sketches were intended to help build. They are not just a tiny step in the process of the production of a great artwork, but are presented here as autonomous and brilliant drawings, which they truly are.
This publication is a follow-up to a previous exhibition at the Kunstbibliothek Sitterwerk, “Das Denken unterbrechen”: Eine Ausstellung zu Zeichnungen, Notizen, Ideenskizzen, 22 November 2015 to 14 February 2016, with contributions by Monika Bartholomé, Hans Josephsohn, Sarah Klein, Mathew Kneebone, Karel Martens, Paul Stiff, and sketches from the Kunstgiesserei St.Gallen. The publication was made possible with the generous support of Innerrhoder Kunststiftung and Kulturförderung der Stadt St.Gallen.
Kunstgiesserei St.Gallen AG
250 × 335 mm