Catalogue entry

Martin Disler born 1949

T03862 Untitled 1984

Charcoal on paper 1345 x 2730 (53 3/8 x 107 1/2)
Inscribed 'Disler 84' t.r.
Purchased from Nigel Greenwood Gallery (Grant-in-Aid) 1984

This large, unfixed charcoal drawing has many smudges and fingerprints over the surface. A number of entwined heads and limbs, often with glaring eyes and bared teeth, are spread across the sheet. The smudged areas over the entire surface obscure the individual features and their relationship to one another, although a number of details do stand out, such as the head, top right, and the eye in the middle. In the bottom left-hand corner, a pair of heads, lying horizontally, confront one another. The emphasis on the vigorously drawn human body, particularly the head, points to some of Disler's prime concerns in his work of this period. In a letter to the compiler postmarked 17 August 1988, the artist described his state of mind during the period when he made this work:

I was at this time a restless nomad; I can still feel the charcoal in my fingers in a cold atelier in Northern Holland or was it already in Malakoff (Paris)? I believe it happened to me in Holland when I was doing big and small drawings, mostly black, day and night for a long period.
In a text entitled 'Drawings 1982', Disler writes of the role drawing plays in his work:
Drawing is always my weapon against the desire to end, against exhaustion and against getting wrapped up into dull conventions by having seismographed my slowly outgrowing body in such a way that the dream could press through the image more and more clearly, the longer and stronger i [sic; all subsequent lower case words accord with the style adopted by the author] was on the way on these thousand most different kinds of paper, and the goal, the destination is seeing; seeing in standing, walking, lying, falling with the wounded knife of the assaulted body ... the deepest drawings originate when i believe that the blood flows out of the pores like in sexuality ... it is a commanding projection of the antenna-flesh and bone fibers of my intoxicating yearning to see = to love = to live ... perhaps you think i am romantic, but i am a visionhunter, in drawing i am invented my life as a painter, i would rather bite into the paper than stop drawing (Martin Disler: Drawings, exh. cat., Galerie Eric Frank, Geneva 1982, [pp.6-7]).
Many of the drawings Disler made in 1984 are smaller in scale than T03862. However, they are linked thermatically in their highly expressive, orgiastic, violent imagery, with disembodied heads or focus on different parts of the body. A series of thematically related drawings is illustrated in Martin Disler, Verwandlung des Einen in das Andere: Bleistzftzeichnungen, Zurich 1984.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, pp.141-2