‘Double Take’ a group exhibition exploring drawing and photography 14 April – 5 June 2016



Dove Allouche, Josh Brand, Tacita Dean, Margarita Gluzberg, Matt Saunders and Thomas Zummer.

14 April – 5 June 2016

A two-venue exhibition exploring the relationship between drawing and photography, taking place at Drawing Room and The Photographers' Gallery, London.

Opening Wednesday 13 April, 6 – 8pm

Press preview Monday 11 and Tuesday 12 April by appointment

Drawing and photography are each considered the most direct, ‘transparent’ media with which to engage with the world.  They share fascinating parallels:  the relationship to the indexical, the blank sheet of paper or surface, graphite and silver, pencil weight and aperture, the sense of an invisible ‘apparatus’ (the camera and pencil), the engagement with surface, light, negative and positive and the trace. Double-take seeks to explore the multifarious ways photography and drawing have been combined and mirrored to extend both practices into new arenas in modern and contemporary practices. 

Photography, literally meaning ‘drawing with light’, enabled nature to ‘draw itself’ as described by William Fox Talbot in his publication ‘The Pencil of Nature’ (1844): ‘It is not the artist who makes the picture but the picture which makes itself’.  The expansion of photography in the second half of the 19th century served the dual role of freeing up drawing from the role of representation and ushering in new artistic procedures that challenged authorial intentionality and that exploited strategies to mediate the subjectivity of the artist, such as seriality, and the exploitation of chance and accident.

This two-part exhibition is a unique collaboration between two major, medium-specific, London institutions and provides fertile ground for an exploration of the specialism of each. Drawing Room and The Photographers' Gallery produce exhibitions that demonstrate the primary roles that drawing, and photography, perform in recent and contemporary practice. This collaboration reveals that the manipulation of materials, whether within the confines of a medium, stretching its limit or borrowing from other media, gives artists passage to new visual languages and forms of expression.

At Drawing Room the six contemporary artists will each present serial works executed in a range of photographic media, graphite and projection.  Sources are chanced upon, or obsessively collected, and each is embedded with temporality: a now dead artist’s found notations; growing mould spores; skulls; pictures of robots; press photographs from the  1920s; images of consumption self-destructing. Procedures linked to the medium of drawing – the labour of laying down repetitive marks in materials such as graphite and ink, and the manipulation of the apparatus of photography – the lens, the shutter, darkroom processes – transform these sources. The works have a physical, tactile quality that we can relate to and the clarity of line is traded for the indistinctiveness of shadow. In an era in which images proliferate, seemingly defining who we are and what we believe in, and in which the flat screen is the chief method of their insinuation into our lives, it is this connection with matter that invites engagement.

  • Drawing Room Research Papers Drawing and Photography will be published to coincide with Double Take more info here
  • Drawing and Photography a panel dicussion will take place on Wednesday 13 April 4 – 6pm more info here

  • Double Take Bibliography and Reading List is available here


For Tacita Dean analogue photography has a kinship with drawing; it provides a continuity of signal – from object in the world, to a photograph or film – that transmits the wobbles and poetry of life, just as marks upon a support transmit the wobble of the artist’s hand.  Dean is represented by Still Life I-VI (2009), exhibited for the first time in the UK, a grid of six, fibre-based prints mounted on paper. These are photographs of ‘found drawings’, discovered in the studio of Giorgio Morandi, their insistent and tremulous lines at odds with the still lives of this painter.  Framed by Dean’s lens, these notations are extracted from the past, and through serialisation, are propelled into the present. Tacita Dean bio

For Dove Allouche, drawing and photography work in tandem to register the passage of time through his use of fugitive materials from the early days of photography – metallic powders, lamp-blacks and ethanol.  He chooses subjects that are themselves undergoing constant change; for example, his Spore drawings 1 – 5 (2014) document the growth of mould on the gelatin-bromide layer of archived silver gelatin prints.  Whilst Allouche copies the beautiful forms of this fungus, he recognises that the passage of time will alter the image through evaporation and oxidation. Dove Allouche bio

Josh Brand uses a combination of camera-less techniques and lens-based photography to make unique silver gelatin or c prints.  Like Dean, Brand relies on chance encounters that have a personal resonance.  Objects are gathered – for example the skull that has appeared in many of his photographs – and in the studio Brand manipulates  materials that are to hand – paper, matchsticks, song lyrics, darkroom chemicals – and uses a range of processes such as photographic development,  ‘light drawings’, and drawing blind. The result is visual phenomena that suggest the fuzziness of recollection, of a fleeting sensation, of reverie, something that can’t be named, or pinned down. Josh Brand bio

A philosopher and an artist, Thomas Zummer is interested in debunking the genre of portrait photography and questioning the veracity of any image.  We include his ‘Portraits of Robots’, an ongoing series in which the drawings are produced rapidly with white paper ground, graphite powder of different hues, and an eraser; the artist’s mind simultaneously editing the source photograph. Thus the image is drawn from darkness into light, at a comparable duration to the action of the camera in early photography.   The graphite is not fixed and the drawing remains unglazed; in the flesh these drawings possess a materiality which endows his non-human subject with an intense human presence.  The compassion we feel for these robots demonstrates the fallacy at the core of all image-making.  Zummer is interested in exposing the processes involved in the production and consumption of works of art; making drawings, and manipulating photographs digitally, form part of his arsenal in doing this. Thomas Zummer bio

Margarita Gluzberg contributes a new work that includes a still image projected onto graphite screens.  The production of this new, site specific work involves a number of stages, with visual material generated by an analogue camera as she moves through shop window displays. Adopting an automatic procedure, Gluzberg takes double and triple exposures by reloading the film multiple times.  As the frame is broken down the imagery becomes abstracted and reduced to lines, with the medium seeming to transition from photography to drawing. A slide mount reframes the abstract lines which are projected onto silvery panels, formed through accretions of graphite. Margarita Gluzberg bio

Matt Saunders, like Allouche and Brand, experiments with the capacity of materials to produce images.  As the genre of photography in  the 1920s was called upon to validate the existence of spirits and ghosts, so Saunders resurrects found images using a process in which he draws his own negatives, using ink on Mylar ( a type of plastic film).  The suite of photo-drawings for Double-take, are drawn from press photographs taken by the German architect and set designer Hans Poelzig in the early 1920s.  In the darkroom, during development, these images are subjected to manipulation using a combination of materials including oil,  digital content, graphite, toner cartridge, casein, and ink, in a bid to ‘make the suture of image with form ….an insistent materiality for the seemingly immaterial’. Matt Saunders bio

Artists included at The Photographers’ Gallery: Anna Barriball, Pierre Bismuth, Marcel Broodthaers, Paul Chiappe, Richard Forster, Jolanda Havelkova, Nancy Hellebrand, Lisa Junghanß, Běla Kolářová, Curtis Moffat, László Moholy-Nagy, Jiří Thýn. More info on The Photographers Gallery exhibition here


Drawing Room, Unit 8 Rich Estate, 46 Willow Walk, London SE1 5SF. Tel 020 7394 5657 Open: Tues – Fri 11am–6pm, Sat and Sun 12 – 6pm; and until 8pm on the last Friday of every month. Double Take 14 April – 5 June 2016

IMAGE: Thomas Zummer, Study for a Portrait of ‘Elektro,’ Smoking (No. 2) 1939, 2005. Graphite, carbon, erasure on paper,  35.2 x 28.2cm

For further information, images, or to arrange interviews please contact Laura Perry on [email protected] or telephone 020 7394 5657.                                     

Thomas Zummer'Electric Eric' (R.U.R.), 2002
Graphite, carbon, erasure on paper, 76 x 56 cm