Susan Turcot   
Before the Clearance Nr 1, 2003, pencil on paper on alu-dibond, 30 x 43 cm

Born 1966 in Montreal (Canada)
Lives and works in London (UK)

Susan Turcot works in drawing and sculpting. Her pencil drawings examine places, situations and events, transforming them into richly imagined inventions. Everyday processes turn out to be mysterious happenings; everyday disasters take on the air of absurd contrivances. Her drawings capture with a playful ephemerality that which seems to be escaping from the observer’s gaze. The drawings Commodities #2 and the Series Self Service, created in 2004, are characteristic for the peculiarity of her artistic process. Their titles promise a sequence of representations capturing the quotidian experiences of modern everyday life. Yet the enigmatic drawings seem to describe neither the activities of modern consumption nor forms of self-realization. This impression is further heightened by the style of drawing employed by the artist. The light pencil strokes transmute the observed into spontaneous notes. What the artist is capturing is merely hinted at. The unsettled gaze that the artist generates is amplified by the forceful, impulsive strokes that attack, as it were, the drawn image from the margins of the sheet. The dual effect of refined pencil strokes and psychic spontaneity lends the drawings their particular power. We can neither unambiguously recognise what the artist describes in her lightly-drawn visual idiom – are people moving about in a quarry or the ruins of a destroyed home? Are we witnessing a traffic accident? Nor is it clear why the drawing motion suddenly tips into wild agitation. Does the artist wish to express the intense emotion that the observed scene triggers? Or does she want to cross out what upsets her? In Turcot’s drawings, the known becomes the unknown. Each drawing seems to be a random snippet from an event whose story remains unknown to us. We attempt to apprehend the event by looking closely at it, yet in the end we are uncomprehendingly captivated by it.


Text: Guido Boulboullé