- Trisha Brown Aberdeen, Washington, USA, 1936 - San Antonio, Texas, USA, 2017
- Technique:Graphite on paper
- Category: Work on paper, Drawing, Modern dance
- Entry date:2012
- Register number:AD06569
- Image credit:© Trisha Brown
- On display in:
Trisha Brown has used drawing throughout her career as a reflection of the tense relationship between sign and movement. In 1961 she participated in Robert Dunn's classes at Merce Cunningham Studio. Dunn was a musician and composer, and he had also studied with John Cage, later applying to dance the techniques he learned from him relative to uncertainty, chance, and especially the central role of the score. Brown learned from Dunn that recording the choreography, the dance score, was in itself a form of creative expression. Although in the artist’s early career her drawings were always related to her choreographic compositions, as of the eighties, her drawings acquired a freer and more performance-related dimension, including improvised movements within the dance pieces themselves.
The drawings from the series Untitled (1973) belong to a notebook from her early career. They were drawn in her studio with the aim of developing her own vocabulary, a translation to body movements using an alphabet consisting of lines and simple shapes. Trisha Brown attributes actions to letters so that the resulting words provide a complete phrase or set of movements. The crosses and segmented cubes shown in this series of drawings are free representations of a body divided into primary units, which can be combined in countless ways to imply movement. Freedom in the phrasing of the writing makes it impossible for other dancers unfamiliar with her personal language to interpret the drawings since they do not follow any rules of academic composition. When she made these drawings Brown had already worked with structures based on numerical series consistent with the visual and sculptural vocabulary of Minimal Art that was emerging in New York in the same period.