The Day the World Ended by Luis Perez Calvo

Pliny the Elder was thinking of Alexander the Great’s official painter, Apelles, when he coined the phrase “No day without a line.” The artist supposedly never let the sun set without making at least one thin stroke. The quote, in Latin, forms the title of a new exhibition at the Instituto Cervantes. Featuring 140 works made by 23 Spanish artists since 2000, Nulla Dies Sine Linea attempts to convey the heterogeneous nature of today’s Spanish drawing scene. Not only are the subjects various, but the materials range from pencil and paper to higher-tech media. Included are digital prints, video-drawing hybrids, and Lola Marazuela and Paco Mesa’s “geographic conceptual drawing,” which is based on imaginary lines. Aside from highlighting Spanish diversity, curator Blanca Soto hopes to present drawing as a slighted art form in need of rescuing. Soto takes the position that drawing has been unfairly treated as “a pariah within a family of theoretically more serious and prestigious disciplines”; the show strives to present the art form as worthy of greater exploration and increased respect. If persistent Apelles were around today, he’d probably agree.