Apparitions: Frottages and Rubbings from 1860 to Now

Apparitions: Frottages and Rubbings from 1860 to Now

Allegra Pesenti
9 3/4 × 12 1/2 inches
132 pages

Published 2015


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Rubbing, the rendering an image by placing a sheet of paper over an object or textured surface and rubbing it with graphite or another marking agent, and frottage, a variety of rubbings executed on a single sheet that together produce imagery that is unrelated to their sources, are some of the most ancient and enduring ways of drawing. Bringing together a diverse yet singularly focused selection of rubbings and frottages, this publication is the first devoted to these versatile techniques. The works included span a century and a half and range from tombstone rubbings to Surrealist drawings to contemporary conceptual experiments. Frottages and rubbings by household names like Louise Bourgeois, Max Ernst, and Henri Michaux are presented alongside those of lesser-known artists such as Eileen Agar, Jennifer Bornstein, and Jindřich Štýrský. Though varied in concept and character, all of these works have an intrinsically evanescent and fugitive character; they are connected not only by technique but by their representation of the invisible.

About the Author
Allegra Pesenti is a drawings specialist and curator at large for the Menil Drawing Institute (MDI). She has previously served as the chief curator of the MDI; as curator at the UCLA Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and as assistant curator of drawings at the Getty Museum, Santa Monica, CA. She holds a doctorate from the Courtauld Institute of Art.