Throughout August, six poet-artists took part in our ‘Drawing Poetry’ residency with the Centre for Recent Drawing. John Sheehy, Claire Collison, Sria Chatterjee, Eleanor Penny, Neringa Dastoor and Iris Colomb spent a month in the studio at C4RD, developing hybrid and cross-genre drawing-poems. Throughout September and October, we’re showcasing their work.
The third poet-artist whose work we are displaying is Iris Colomb. She discusses her work Семечки below. Семечки will be exhibited at the National Poetry Library Open Day, as part of London Literature Festival, on the 15th October.
Semechki (Семечки) is a series of experimental translations of Eta Dahlia’s minimalist Russian poems into gestural drawings.
These translations are entirely process-led. I made use of my limited knowledge of Russian, allowing me to experience the poems phonetically without semantic bias. Translating the poems’ sounds into gestures became the basis of my systemic approach.
I listened to each poem repeatedly for an hour, interpreting each sound as a separate movement tracing a line. Throughout this process my repetitive gestural sequences produced an increasingly intricate network of lines, generating a tightly layered shape. My movements evolved with each iteration, the drawing itself exposing their range.
The resulting compositions became complex maps of my changing perception; areas and textures displaying different levels of conviction and doubt, making these drawings both translations and documents of performance.
Iris Colomb is an artist, poet, curator and translator based in London. Throughout her practice she strives to merge poetry and other art forms, applying a design approach to poetic projects. She has given individual, collaborative and interactive performances at a range of events, in both London and France, as well as producing poetic responses to fine art exhibitions.
Her poems have been published in Pocket Litter, and Datableed, and her co-translation (with Elliot Koubis) of ‘The Stories and Adventures of the Baron d’Ormesan’, a series of short stories by Apollinaire, is due to come out later this year with Ampersand Publishing Limited. Iris is the Art Editor of Haverthorn magazine and her visual work has been showcased in the collective exhibition ‘We Fiddle While Rome Burns’ (Donetsk 2014), and sold at auction in Versailles (2015). She also curates events seeking possibilities beyond the traditional format of poetry readings, each of which acts as a separate live experiment, linking poetry and other art-forms such as film, visual arts, sound, and design.