Jorrit Paaijmans
Jorrit Paaijmans


Radical Drawing Device, 2017 - 2019 & Linearis Objectum No. 3, 2023

Jorrit Paaijmans works at the intersection of craftsmanship and technology. His artistic practice explores the concept of drawing, focusing on the tension between concept and end product. An important part of his practice are his kinetic sculptures: handmade machines that mechanize the act of drawing. They call into question the status of craftsmanship in today’s heavily digitized and mechanized society. His work offers new perspective on the physical relation between human and labour in our heavily digitized and mechanized society.

Drawing is often described as an expressive and personal art form as it exposes the hand of the artist unmediated. Paaijmans interest however is not centred on showing anything personal in his drawings. In his explorations, Paaijmans’ focus shifts from the result of the drawing to the process of drawing.
While investigating the act of drawing Paaijmans deconstructs drawing to its basic elements: dot, line, plane. He employs technology to deconstruct the act of drawing to explore the essence of drawing. He handcrafts his mechanical sculptures in a way that reveals the mind and eye of a draughtsman Paaijmans shifts the locus of drawing to the exciting and playful tension between maker and machine. It is neither the maker nor the machine that makes the choices, the result and meaning lies somewhere in between.

Linearis Objectum is a series of drawing machines focusing on the drawn line, deploying it as an autonomous object. Linearis Objectum No.3 recalls two benchmarks in the development of the drawing discipline: the invention of perspective in drawing with vanishing points in the Renaissance and the early 20th century manifestation of the line as a sculptural element, being freed from the two-dimensional plane, in Constructivism.
The work creates seemingly infinite spatial drawing configurations in which the process and its mechanics are equal actors. Almost all elements of the installation are handcrafted and openly demonstrated, from its functionality to its vanishing points. Only the parameters set by the artist are out of sight. The installation plays with the eye of the beholder, using composition, linear perspective and shadow to create abstract patterns of line arrangements.

Radical Drawing Device is a tattoo machine which is capable of drawing a single, straight line and is applicable in one place only: the arm of the artist. Paaijmans built the machine around an epoxy moulded model of his own lower arm. The machine replaces the hand the drawer, the arm of the drawer becomes the paper.
RDD tattooed a line on Paaijmans’ arm during in a two-hour public performance at the Verbeke Foundation (Kemzeke, Belgium). Having created all elements manually, Paaijmans subsequently gives away control to his engineering which is enabled to move freely within a strict framework. Contrary to the line of a pencil, the line of the machine is indelible: the first (test) execution is at once the definitive one. Hesitation, doubt and little errors cannot be remedied and become part of the final result. The work is a balancing act at the intersection of the controllable and the uncontrollable.
As the drawing was produced in front of the viewers’ eyes, RDD shifts the focus from the final result to the process of creating. The line will remain, but the line is not the artwork. The world and time before the RDD performance, before the line was drawn, and the time thereafter, collectively form the artwork.