© Marc Nagtzaam, A Small Set of Examples, 98,3 x 67,7 cm (2012)

Nagtzaam makes drawings. Using graphite and the occasional colored pencil, he works primarily in black and white and in varying formats of paper, from small to middling, which are never smaller than a magazine page and rarely, if ever exceed the format of the human body (except for in the rare cases of wall drawings). The visual repertoire of the drawings ranges from a kind of hard-edge all-over abstraction to the reproduction of the written word. Seemingly idiosyncratic grids of differing modes and sizes abound, while exploded lattices of linear markings stream across surfaces of paper with an apparent randomness, and circular, all-over doodles are apotheosized into meticulous labors of graphic splendor. The language pieces generally consist of two types: one of which features the title of the work or a group of potential titles collaged together at random and drawn out on paper, and the other which features language culled from art magazines, copied and written on the paper in seemingly coherent columns. The art magazine language drawings are marked with all the imperfect and uneven personality of gesture which one normally expects from pencil on paper, and which is almost entirely absent from the much more controlled geometric drawings that comprised the rest of the artist's practice. This makes for a paradox, and consequently, the kind of tension that essentially animates Nagtzaam's output. Proceeding as such, he manages to render the highly impersonal language of art journalism manifestly personal-- a language moreover that could hardly be more codified; as codified, in fact, and therefore as ineluctably borrowed as abstraction-- while he to all intents and purposes, submits a rather personal process of abstraction to the alienating anonymity of the grid.(1)

Lecture, Campus Congres, Kerkstraat 45, Antwerp
2012, November 14, 6 pm
Free entrance

(1) Chris Sharp, Paris 2010