Engineering Forms and The Correspondent, 2007

Colour pencil drawings, performance, text, typewriter.

Engineering Forms & The Correspondent is a series of drawings and a storytelling performance performed next to the drawings. The story is retold several times, and is instantly recorded by a typist.

“Reading through the nine-page typewritten document that remains as a remnant of Toril Johannessen’s performance, a story emerges, piece by piece, repetition after repetition; changing slightly as it is retold and transcribed. During the opening of the exhibition that the work Engineering Forms &The Correspondent sits within, one performer told and one performer recorded the story of the work – both the intricate drawings behind them on the gallery wall, and the process that they completed themselves as they spoke with people in the gallery. The work unfolding live in all its totality. The story of the work is a combination of narratives; childhood memories, family tales and more brutal historical fact; the embarrassment of the artist’s Father at his failure to patent an invention; the fading of forms of communication and methods of depiction. (…)Johannessen’s narrative is infinitely open to alteration and is at the mercy of fancy, whim, and embellishment as well as the decision to withhold or emit details. Like Johannessen’s drawings that represent the isometric paper at the heart of this tale, infinite space presents infinite opportunity. Hand drawn, they depict the paper that her Father invented, without realising that someone else, somewhere else had already invented. Used to facilitate accurate perspectival drawing, the paper is now obsolete with the invention of computers and spatial design software.(…)”

(Henry Davidson on the exhibition “On the moment of change there is always a new threshold of imagination”, ARTSPACE, Auckland)