Public defence in Contemporary Art, MFA Agnieszka Karasch

Public defence from the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Art and Media
Front cover of the doctoral thesis publication "Reciprocal Drawing" by Agnieszka Karasch (2023), Aalto ARTS Books, cover photo by M. Kusmierz

The title of the thesis: Reciprocal Drawing. Bodies’ Co-dependence and Direct Contact in Performance Drawing.

Doctoral student: Agnieszka Karasch
Opponent: Dr. Stuart Grant, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney, Australia
Custos: Prof. Anniina Suominen, Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Art and Media

The dissertation focuses on the Reciprocal Drawing (RD) method – a collaborative practice developed by Agnieszka Karasch in which two collaborators draw while maintaining co-dependence between their moving bodies. Unlike other forms of collaborative drawing, RD is challenging because the collaborators affect each other’s motions while drawing. To enable focus, the method combines 3 frames in unprecedented ways: a contact-imposing partnering strategy, a repertoire of body actions, and a set of rules. In this way, the collaborators may devise complex embodied processes resulting in refined large-scale drawings. 

The purpose of the study was to extend conventional drawing towards a performative and contact-based formula. The research responds to challenges posed by those partnering strategies which employ bodies’ co-dependence. Consequently, greater complexity of the drawing process and coherence of the drawn form are achieved. 

RD reinforces the authenticity of actions, enables co-exploration of physicality and resistance, co-production of multiple drawing compositions and the transformation of existing ones. The method generates conflict, engages partners emotionally, and evokes mutual trust. The research stresses the embodied, expressive, and dialogic character of Reciprocal Drawing. Its processes prove to finely reflect the social and relational aspects of human life. Defined as play, RD reveals its subversive, transformative and solidifying function. It renders learning new approaches to drawing possible. It is a postconsensual practice where the engaged artists co-explore the benefits of embodied conflict without posing a threat to each other's integrity. RD evokes self-limitation and responsibility for the other.

Thesis available for public display 10 days prior to the defence at:

Contact information:

Email  [email protected]
Mobile  +48605050143

Doctoral theses in the School of Arts, Design and Architecture:
Zoom Quick Guide:

  • Published:
  • Updated: