The Close set image (child moves towards camera)
Pencil, watercolor and China ink on Fine Art inkjet print on Hahnemühle etching paper
61 x 86 cm (24 1/8 x 33 7/8 in) (unframed)
81,5 x 102,6 x 4 cm (32 1/8 x 40 3/8 x 1 5/8 in) (framed)
David Claerbout's drawings are an integral part of his practice. Each of his projects is accompanied by a small number of drawings that function as a combination of preparatory studies, notes regarding problems encountered during film shootings, and reminders of conceptual issues arising throughout the production. As Claerbout once said: “drawing was what I was best at for putting ideas on paper.”
The drawings related to Claerbout's The Close, a black and white video work evoking the early days of cinema, may also be compared to production stills. They depict both the set and several of the protagonists seen in The Close. The aesthetic of the video work is beautifully captured in the gradations of the ink. Written annotations can be made out in some places.
The drawings produced in the context of The Close are the first employing a sequence of techniques that include drawing, watercolor, scanning, digital drawing, individual printing and drawing/watercolor into the printed image. This process is sometimes repeated multiple times.
The Close depicts a brick-walled alley – known as a close in English – in which children and adults, all dressed in old-fashioned garments, go about various activities: we see men and women pass by, some purposefully hurrying, others strolling arm in arm. An older man, apparently a puppeteer, wanders about in an open space in the foreground where several children also linger. During the course of the film, certain passersby appear and reappear, workers sweep the street and the children continue to play. Intermittently we see the alley deserted.