Lore Smolders: The sign as drawing system

Doctoral Project

My research on sign systems deciphers the pictographic image from a drawing point of view. From educational, social and art-related fields I want to approach the sign as part of a system, but also investigate how this is reflected in my own and other artistic practices. How do signs appear and function as instructions and forms of visual communication? Which social and cultural codes are linked to a sign system? How can sign systems transform within an artistic practice? The sign is at the origin of written language, and still serves as a non-verbal communication between people who do not necessarily speak the same language. In my research I want to play with concepts such as readability, coding and universality and position them in a field of tension between language and drawing, with a specific attention for the female gaze. Finally I want to develop my own subjective sign system on the basis of the findings of my research, in which my own observations and experiences react on existing sign systems.


  • Dr. Isolde Vanhee (supervisor, KU Leuven / LUCA)
  • Kelly Schacht (co-supervisor, Ghent)

Research unit: Image

Duration: 2020 - 2024

'The person you are waiting for', 2016, potlood op populierenhout