Breath Drawing

Duncan Bullen

    Research output: Non-textual outputExhibition


    Duncan Bullen created a phenomenological, systems-based drawing methodology for investigating individual experience of the physical world, leading to an exhibited body of drawings generated in the process of developing and testing this methodology. Two sets of drawings were developed, applying and developing the drawing methodology in two contrasting settings and phases, the first in a listed building undergoing renovation, the second in a studio setting. Each location functioned as a catalyst, providing specific conditions in which to test the emerging methodology. Each was based on the bodily rhythm of breathing, integrating this with Bullen’s repetitive and reductive mark-making to produce a sense of mindful presence and consciousness of place.

    Bullen’s work enquired into the physical experience of drawing and the nature of the non-representational artefact produced, considering the pivotal value of touch and the understanding of drawing as process and experience. He asked, how can a rule-based approach to drawing be used to investigate the artist’s individual experience of place? And, how can mindfulness and meditational breathing impact the receptivity of the artist to drawing and place?

    The body of drawings are situated within a first person, experience-based arts methodology, developing methods through which repetitive, non-representational manual drawing can become a sensory and contemplative engagement with place aligned to mindfulness meditation. Bullen’s method used rhythm, repetition and rules as a framework for attuning attention and increasing his experience of being present in the space. This in turn enabled him to manifest details of his physical environment within his drawings in non-representational ways.

    Breath Drawings was first shown in Brighton (2018) and has been disseminated internationally, including exhibitions at Gordon House, Margate (2019) and Galleri Seilduken, Oslo (2019), a keynote presentation at Drawing Still Places: Drawing Heritages (Évora, Portugal, 2019) and a co-authored book chapter.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationUniversity of Brighton Gallery
    Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2018


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