Jonathan Borofsky

Untitled at 2,436,185


Not on display

Jonathan Borofsky born 1942
Graphite and ink on paper
Support: 355 × 307 mm
Purchased 1984

Catalogue entry

Jonathan Borofsky born 1942

T03917 Untitled at 2,436,185 c.1977-8

Black ink on paper 335 x 307 (13 1/2 x 12 1/2)
Inscribed ‘2,436,185' b.r., ‘Borofsky 78' and ‘JB167' on back b.r.
Purchased from Paula Cooper Inc., New York (Grant-in-Aid) 1984
Exh: Jon Borofsky, Paula Cooper Inc., New York, March-April 1979 (no cat.); Hundreds of Drawings, Artists Space, New York, Dec. 1983-Jan. 1984 (no cat.); State of the Art: Ideas and Images in the 1980's, ICA, Jan.-March 1987 (no number)
Lit: Dieter Koepplin, ‘Borofsky: Many Drawings and the Continuous Line', in Jonathan Borofsky, exh. cat., Moderna Museet, Stockholm 1984, p.94

In the interview with Sandy Nairne (see T03909) Borofsky said of T03917:

This is one of the series that has been affectionately termed by Dieter Koepplin ‘beach drawings' where I was sitting on the beach for a month in Maine during the summer, and it seemed like one of the times where I could slow down a little and scratch away with my triple zero Castell-Faber pens and an image would slowly come up through the paper, and I wouldn't have any plan ahead of time as to what it would be; I would just start scribbling somewhere and allow it to develop, and stop at a certain point when it felt finished. And this is one of the rare ones where it's these kind of vaginal pods ... I haven't done many of these.

In the same interview, Borofsky noted that all the drawings of this more heavily worked type ‘relate through the fact that they're all very organic, like cutting through a layer of skin and seeing the cells underneath. Implying real organic, natural, cellular-like forms'.

A number of comparable drawings are reproduced in the catalogue for Borofsky's drawing exhibition, at the Kunstmuseum, Basel, 1983; for example: no.29 (c.1977/78 ‘Drawing at 2457191'); no.30 (c.1977/78 ‘Drawing at 2436512'); no.32 (c.1977 ‘Drawing at 2436183'); no.34 (c.1977 ‘Drawing at 2472594'); no.97 (c.1979 ‘Drawing at 2600610'); no.98 (d.1980 ‘Drawing at 2683275 "Maine Beach"').

Asked by Sandy Nairne about the specific symbolism or meaning of T03917, Borofsky replied ‘The drawing, like all of them, I didn't think, I am going to draw this, none of them have that'. In the interview, Nairne suggested to Borofsky that these drawings might have been made in ‘1980, the year that is credited to another drawing, ... Maine Beach, 1980' (repr. Basel exh. cat. 1983, no. 98, although the numbering and date suggests that T03917 is nearer in date to Basel nos. 29, 30, 32, 34). Borofsky replied that he

did several on the beach that summer, about four or five turned out rather well ... These are like lots of stuff I would do when I was young. I used to make ribbons of forms that would twist around each other and imply three dimensional space... I used to do this when I was in college, at different times; I used to paint like this. It keeps coming back even to this day, it's one of the natural ways I would tend to draw - It has to be a kind of relaxed way and sometimes I don't feel the slowing down that much.

Asked about possible links with specifically feminist imagery in the 1970's in relation to the imagery of T03917 Borofsky replied:

Absolutely not. It just is organic forms. This is a form we find in nature all over the place, a pod, a bean-pod of any kind. The bean-pod being as natural as the vagina. I don't really think of it as being men's or women's work. I would never think of it as being feminist work. I've always thought of people's work as work. And my mother was a painter, I never thought of her as a woman painter, she just always made paintings.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, pp.109-10

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