Not many people know that pencils are special. In primary school we’re taught that pencils are things to practice with until we’re good enough to use pen. We chew them. They lie forgotten at the bottom of pencil cases and school bags. They’re hexagonal, grey and smudgey. But occasionally, when taken up by a thoughtful hand and applied in just the right way, the old grey lead can turn some pretty special tricks.
Marcel Gähler knows how special pencils are and his work is magical. Taken from photos of projected found imagery, his pencil drawings are like ghostly traces of images, filtered first through the light of the projector then again through the lightness of pencil. The figures and spaces in his work assume a dream-like quality, the buttery soft edges of the pencil marks, the dusty coating of the paper and the consistent grain of their surface reinvents and abstracts the source material so much that it’s like seeing through a veil.
Pencil drawings speak of time spent and lingered over. When you look at these drawings, particularly considering their large scale (these works are up to 2m wide) you can’t help but think of the labouring pencil, working inch over careful inch until the entire surface of the blank paper is covered. That’s a lot of pencil shavings.
Happy Wednesday!All images copyright Marcel Gähler.