Artist Anouk Mercier is currently our Drawer-in-Residence at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, where she is using drawing as a tool to gather information and learn about hospital life. Anouk studied at Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts in Paris and the University of the West of England in Bristol, where she is now Associate Lecturer at the Drawing Centre.
“Drawing is an excuse to enter and observe areas, as well as meet and chat with staff and patients”
Through her interactions and conversations with staff in all areas of the hospital, ranging from HIV clinics to the Post Room, Anouk has become fascinated with how and why they use drawing – or mark-making more generally – in their work.
She has discovered many examples of drawing in practice at the hospital, including surgeons’ pre and post-operative drawings; anaesthetists’ coded diagrams; the importance of personal signatures in the pharmacy department; sketched diagrams of structural alterations by the facilities team; and placenta prints created by the doulas. Anouk is ‘collecting’ such examples and intends to document them and produce a publication that will act as a ‘behind the scenes’ guide to the hospital through drawing; that both staff and patients can enjoy, and which gives a unique insight into and appreciation for, the workings of the hospital.
While exploring the hospital archives, our drawer-in-residence Anouk Mercier, found a photograph of 50 anonymous nurses, taken in 1919. Struck by the fact none of their names had been recorded, Anouk began her 50 Nurses project, drawing portraits of each individual nurse to celebrate the important role they played in our hospitals history.
During Anouk’s residency, students from the Topolski Studio, in collaboration with Reportager, University of the West of England, spent time at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, documenting hospital life through reportage drawing. Working together, the students produced a broadsheet ‘Chronicle’ addressing contemporary issues in the 21st century, just as artist Feliks Topolski did in the 20th. The results were exhibited at the Topolksi Studio on 14thDecember 2018 and will be shown in the hospital as part of the Big Draw in 2019 – a celebration at the culmination of the Drawn in Residence project.
Anouk’s residency is generously funded by the Tavolozza Foundation.