Matthias Beckmann
My visit to Idem Paris

In Berlin I visited 88 artists' studios for a big drawing project. On site I made drawings of the studios as places of work and inspiration. For an exhibition at galerie Laurent Mueller I decided to add drawings of historical studios in Paris that mostly had turned into museums - the studios of Gustave Moreau, Antoine Bourdelle, Eugène Delacroix, Ossip Zadkine and Brancusi. An interesting studio for drawing with a wonderful old collection of morpholgy is also based at the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts.

As a link between history and contemporary art I could draw at Idem Paris. At the place where the famous printer Mourlot worked for Picasso, Matisse, Zadkine and the French avantgarde, now Idem team prints for international artists. The stones used today are not barely old, they have seen numerous layers of drawings, that have vanished after being printed. The site is at the same time archeological and contemporary. The technique is the same as once invented by Alois Senefelder in 1796. Only seven years after the French Revolution the German actor, writer and composer started a revolution in printmaking.

Of course I had to forget all this while drawing, just because my drawings are based on the neutral observation of everyday life. I was overwhelmed by the dimensions of the place and had to give a reduced linear structure to the labyrinth of lithographic presses, materials, stones and the people working there. Life is complex, especially when a place like this was formed and rearranged by history. You can see so many traces of former times here, where printers and artists collaborate to give birth to new and inventive graphic works.

When you take the narrow stairway to go upstairs, you will find a small window giving sight to the main hall. This allowed me an overview of the situation from above, an exciting perspective. Looking through this window is like watching a movie or looking at a painting offering a condensed view on a rather complex situation.

Matthias Beckmann
A series of six drawings made on site at Idem Paris in March 2013
graphite on paper
29,7 x 21,0 cm