Exhibitions, Events, Talks, Learning Projects and more – find out what’s happening at Drawing Room!
Find out our opening hours, how to get here and learn more about our space & local area.
Drawing Room/Tannery Arts
Unit 1b, New Tannery Way
London, SE1 5WS
Our Learning projects make drawing relevant and accessible to our community – for schools, teachers, families & local groups. Come and Draw!
Free and open to all, our Library is a unique collection of around 4,000 books dedicated to the exploration of contemporary drawing.
Our Members support all that we do and enjoy exclusive events, talks, tours and studio visits – find out how you can join!
Buy publications related to our exhibitions, as well as unique artworks and limited editions.
Find out more about Drawing Room, what we do, and our relationship with studio provider Tannery Arts.
Tannery Arts is a small, independent charity concerned with supporting the professional development of emerging and established artists through the provision of affordable studios, promoting their practice through opportunities to exhibit work, develop projects, generate partnerships with local authorities, private property owners and social housing organisations as well as engage in learning activities.
Private view Wednesday 29 November, 6-8.30pm, starting with a curators tour with Shanay Jhaveri
Everything we do is music, curated by Shanay Jhaveri, explores Indian classical music as a source of inspiration for a diverse group of modern and contemporary artists.
The exhibition will include the following artists:Sarnath Banerjee, Claudio Caldini,Francesco Clemente,Sabah Husain, Prabhavathi Meppayil, Nasreen Mohamedi,Tania Mouraud, Lee Mullican, Michael Müller, Hetain Patel,Lala Rukh, Vidya Sagar, Mohan Samant, Shahzia Sikander, Dayanita Singh, Marian Zazeela.
The exhibition reflects upon the ways in which something as distinct as Indian classical music is connected with the visual arts. It brings together a host of approaches, from the figurative and graphic to the abstract and performative. Drawing and the act of mark making emerge as a guiding principle within the diverse artistic approaches.
Everything we do is music is not a comprehensive show on the subject of Indian classical music, and how it has been engaged by visual artists over time. Instead it endeavours to consider a diverse group of artistic responses, and to prompt reflections on how an oral tradition like Indian classical music has come to be experienced and represented; to wonder at how artists react and respond to sound to create images that are graphic, figurative, abstract and even sublime.
In Everything we do is music, figurative approaches start with the miniature Indian paintings known as the Ragamalas (a genre emerging in the second half of the 15th century, in which an attempt is made to capture an associated mood or character of raga through a staged tableau). These continue with Mohan Samant’s vibrant drawings of musicians and Shazia Sikander's animation Disruption as Rapture. Sarnath Banerjee explores how Indian classical music might be represented more contemporaneously, through narrative and figuration in a newly commissioned set of drawings.
Indian classical musicians have been documented during rehearsals and on stage by numerous Indian photographers, including Dayanita Singh who has made the Tabla player Zakir Hussain the subject of her first photo book. The maquettes she made for this book demonstrate the “rigour and restraint’ that she employs in the editing of her material, an approach she learnt from Hussain.
A more direct presentation of how artists respond to Indian classical music can be witnessed in new work by Michael Müller, made as he listens to Raga interpretations. The rhythm of the production is determined by the music itself and its relation to time, to structure and the sequence of the day. Another method is illustrated by Hetain Patel in his video Kanku Raga (2007), in which the artist assigns each stroke of the tabla drum to a different movement of marking or erasing Kanku pigment from the body. Performing each part, Patel highlights the idea of instilling cultural rhythm physically within the body through repetition.
This inquiry of personalised and performed notation is a thought-provoking one to raise in light of Indian classical music’s relationship to an oral tradition. What are the implications of creating such notational systems? Do they fix the music or do they, rather, represent a subjective experience of the melody at a particular moment, tracing that instant of exchange between artist and composition in which the artist is simultaneously listener and performer? The show will also include works that while definitively not notations of Indian classical music, evoke the improvisational tenets of the music as observed and felt in the drawings of Nasreen Mohamedi, Lala Rukh and the artisanal copper wire works of Prabhavathi Meppayil. Francesco Clemente will be represented by his ‘Evening Ragas’ series (1992) and Lee Mullican by abstract works on paper made in the late 1960s.
The impact of Indian classical music on a range of mid-century avant-garde American composers and underground art-makers will also be explored through the inclusion of concert posters by Marian Zazeela, for performances by the musician Pandit Pran Nath and the composer La Monte Young. Analogously, in 1971, the French artist Tania Mouraud created her Initiation Rooms, a series of white sensory-lit environments in which Pran Nath, Terry Riley, Young and Zazeela were invited to perform. Mourand believed that experiencing music performed in such an environment would create heightened self-awareness. These rooms will be represented in the show through drawings and models. Similar sensory explorations with Indian music preoccupied the Argentinian experimental filmmaker Claudio Caldini whose 1976 film Vadi-Samvadi will also be screened throughout the exhibition.
Everything we do is music is curated by Shanay Jhaveri, Assistant Curator, South Asia, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Recent exhibitions include Companionable Silences (Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2013); and India: Visions from the Outside (Cultuurcentrum Brugge, Bruges, 2012).
Watch Shanay Jhaveri's Curator's View video here.
The exhibition catalogue includes essays by Saira Ansari, an independent researcher and writer living in Dubai, UAE; Shanay Jhaveri; and by Alexander Keefe, a writer living in Los Angeles, California, specialising in Sanskrit and Indian studies. It includes 25 full colour images, artist biographies and a bibliography.
We are grateful to the R and S Nanavati Charitable Trust No. 2, Saroj Jhaveri Foundation, for their generous support of the catalogue.
Hetain PatelKanku Raga, (still detail), 2007Single channel video with sound
Mohan SamantPandit Madhusagar Family, 1978Watercolour, ink and folded paper on paper, 71.1 x 55.9cm
Mohan SamantMusicians, 1999Watercolour on paper, 55.9 x 76.2 cm.
Prabhavathi Meppayilfourteen / sixteen, 2016Drawing with thinnam on gesso panel, 60.9 cm x 60.9 cm
Prabhavathi Meppayiln/eighty five, 2016Drawing with thinnam on gesso panel, 60.9 cm x 60.9 cm
Francesco ClementeUntitled, 1992Watercolour on handmade paper, 21 x 23.9 cm
Francesco ClementeUntitled, 1992Watercolour on handmade paper, 22.2 x 23.7 cm
Composition, 1988Composition, 1988Paperwork, Kozo fibre, acrylic and sumi ink
97.8 x 64.3 cm / 38.5 x 25.3 inches
Initiation Room n°2, 1970 - 2010Initiation Room n°2, 1970 - 2010model
PMMA, PVC, polycarbonate, acrylic paint
integrated base : melamine, steel supporting feet and acrylic paint
94,50 x 75,80 x 75,80 cm
Edition 5 + 2 A.P.
Untitled, UndatedPastel and acrylic on paper
45.72 x 60.96 cm
Untitled, 1992-93Untitled, 1992-93Graphite on paper
29.6cm x 21cm
Vidya Sagar, Untitled, 1992-1993Graphite on Paper, 10. 22cm x 29.8cm
Marian Zazeela, Pandit Pran Nath: Morning Ragas, 1978Marian Zazeela, Pandit Pran Nath: Morning Ragas, 1978Offset print on paper
27.9 X 34.9 cm
Shahzia Sikander, Disruption as Rapture, 2016HD video animation with 7.1 surround sound;
Music by Du Yun featuring Ali Sethi;
Commissioned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art
duration: 10 minutes 7 seconds