The Sense of the Line Between Drawing and Writing

  • Tilo Reifenstein York St John University


Whilst categorical distinctions between writing and drawing practices often separate cerebral sense-making from the sensuous encounter of bodies and materials, they also rehearse hierarchical, if not straightforward class-based, values. 'The sense of the line' develops what Jean-François Lyotard calls the 'energetics' of the line, its capacity to touch us, by reading and looking at two drawings by Raymond Pettibon. Insisting on the inseparability of the line in writing and drawing, this essay not only explores the deep intervolution of both lines on a material and bodily level but also traces the drawing-writing distinction to a desire to see-as, rather than to see, thus imposing categories to limit an otherwise complex and irreducible encounter. As the line's graphic and plastic qualities cannot be neatly separated into distinct writerly and drawerly practices, looking at art and the reading of words are already intervolved with one another. 

How to Cite
REIFENSTEIN, Tilo. The Sense of the Line Between Drawing and Writing. TRACEY, [S.l.], v. 15, n. 1, p. 1-10, may 2021. ISSN 1742-3570. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 28 jan. 2023.