Celebrating Print Magazine >> Where Printmaking Takes Center Stage
>> On Fine Art Print, Printmaking and Print Culture in Central and Eastern Europe
CURRENT ISSUE: VOLUME 2, NUMBER 1
Published April 2016, 84 pages
by Katerina Kyselica
If you believe that the soul of an artist is manifested through his art, then you must take tremendous pleasure in discovering a work that sends shivers down your spine. At that moment, you know that you met a soul mate. I also believe that the environment imprints itself on the soul, for all of us, through our memories. While most people share such memories only verbally, visual artists make the effort to share them through their artwork. The initial impression—a type of environmental imprint, which doesn’t even have to be a conscious act—is processed and implemented throughout the course of art-making into a visual form. One could speak of memory as a matrix, as a carrier of information and continuity. Such a concept may seem removed from the discourse on printmaking, particularly since it doesn’t necessarily connect to the creation of a (fine art) print. However, considering the idea of memory as a matrix may influence our opinions about the precarious situation of printmaking and the print, directing us to perceive the medium as autonomous yet omnipresent, on the edge between art and popular culture, entangled within its own ambivalent definition.
discourse | by Dorota Folga-Januszewska (1,921 words)
View of the MFA Thesis exhibition Coming Out, Maciej Januszewski, Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw, Poland, 2014. Wood prints on paper and cardboard, plywood matrices. Photograph by the artist.
With the boundaries of art disciplines dissolved, the field of printmaking evolved into a phenomenon of thinking reflected in the creation of a matrix and its potential image. The matrix, as a concept and technical entity, embodies an openness to change, with the only constant variable being change in itself. But how can we build durability on the foundation of change?
There is a certain strategy for understanding the printmaking way of thinking, for which implied thinking is quintessential. Exercised in the fields of arts and sciences, implied thinking encourages us to mine into the hidden meanings within a subject, and to identify the important messages that are not directly presented. If we wish to connect implied thinking to the printmaking way of thinking, we first take a look at the matrix, and thereby begin to compare this fundamental component to a concept, idea, project or device with a concrete, constant and visible form, rather than a fleeting one (although the matrix is sometimes digital). In the tradition of printmaking, the matrix could be a wooden block, engraved or etched plate, lithographic stone, screen, stencil, negative or positive. However, if we consider the matrix as a technical entity, it could also be a computer program, an algorithm, or even the order and rules of the game. One feature of the matrix is its potential presence in the piece and process, regardless of whether the matrix itself is material (plate) or digital (program, code). The matrix is potentially and actually imprinted into the surface of the resulting print. Nearly everything that surrounds us can become a print: paper, soil, plastic (such as in 3D printing), the human body or almost any known material. Versions of the matrix, as we know it from printmaking, are present in biology, genetics, geology, physics, history, art, pedagogy, education, medicine and politics. Matrices are ubiquitous.
interview | by Katerina Kyselica (3,861 words)
Image: Jiri Lindovsky, Outlet, 1984, offset, screen print on paper, 18 1/8 x 13 3/8 inches (46 x 34 cm), edition of 35, photograph by Marketa Ondruskova, collection of the artist.
In a conversation on printmaking and drawing, artist and professor Jiri Lindovsky explains his belief in the power of creative intelligence. His prints, drawings and paintings reveal mysterious entities carefully staged in static atmospheres. Like alien orbit stations, his subjects appear floating in calmness, suspended in time.
Lindovsky’s artistic journey intertwines with his philosophical engagement in the complexities of the universe, despite the fact that he often draws inspiration from ordinary objects found within the four walls of his studio, such as electric outlets, broken light bulbs or bell peppers. His works exhibit a recognizable style—monochromatic compositions with an enigmatic entity that resembles a technical apparatus. Against the white paper, some of them seem glowing. They are quite difficult to photograph. The dense nets of minuscule lines gravitating towards a point in the two-dimensional space, a point of settlement, do not allow for a perfect reproducible clarity.
feature | by Barbora Kundracikova (2,791 words)
Image: Joanna Piech-Kalarus, Siesta, 2003, linocut, 34 5/8 x 47 1/4 inches (88 x 120 cm), edition of 30, photograph by Piotr Oles.
Joanna Piech-Kalarus’ portraits are recognized for their deeply personal yet equally alienating effects. Their monumental size only magnifies the display of a formal autonomous structure, which carries its own meaning and quality of expression. This autonomy of form resembles the principles of abstraction and speaks to the artistic strategy described in the modernist theory of “significant form.”
Intimacy comes alongside aloofness in Piech-Kalarus’ prints, as the viewer is led to a state of complete isolation from the person in the picture. This dynamic recovers the famous tradition of the European portrait, but even more so, represents the modernist notion of universalism. There is no chaos, no postmodern openness to plural interpretation. However, there is no simple answer to any of the usual questions: Who is this person? What does he think about? What does she regret? The only way to try and solve such mysteries is to observe the aesthetic appearance of how the figure fits into the context of all of the formal elements.
The visual experience is usually mediated, not only via medium or human sense, but through the design of a thing—a fortiori in the case of pictures. Design is one of the reasons why we continue to be interested in new pictures, because it is not just a means of communication, but it also changes how we perceive the world. As spectators, we find ourselves in the middle of the fundamental mystery: the interaction of form (design) and content. Ultimately, as soon as the observer of a thing, the picture, becomes irreversibly interested in finding out about the techniques employed in designing it, the perceptual experience enters a transformation.
feature | by Breda Skrjanec (2,856 words)
Image: Zdenka Golob, On the Beach I, 1976, etching, 19 3/8 x 24 7/8 inches image size (49 x 63 cm), 22 x 29 1/2 inches paper size (56 x 75 cm), only as A.P. in edition of 10, printed by the artist, photograph by Jaka Babnik, collection of International Centre of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana.
From the Islamic alems of the Herzegovinian landscape to human-like puppets enveloped in spatial silence, motifs stand at the core of Zdenka Golob’s oeuvre. This Slovenian artist’s intaglio prints, which often resemble the modernist works of the Ljubljana School of Graphic Art, exemplify a lifelong journey that entailed searching for just the right form—not too diverse, not too attractive, but evolved as a response to the problems of space and time.
project | by Ewa Budka (775 words)
Photograph: Artist Ewa Budka taking a break over her Skins during a printmaking workshop at MIAD in 2013. Photograph by Karl Reeves.
Through months of experimenting with wood while researching a lithographic process known as Mokulito, artist Ewa Budka began to find similarities between the material and the human body.
The parallel between wood and the human body is central to my project entitled The Skin I Have Been Living In (2012–present). It consists of two interconnected elements: The Body, a piece of wood as an object and a printmaking matrix, and The Skins, impressions of The Body on paper and in latex. Printmaking as a process and a way of thinking is the foundation of the project. I employ Mokulito, a lithographic printing process originated in Japan that I adapted to my liking after conducting extensive research. In Mokulito, wood is used in lieu of stone as a matrix, which makes the lithographic process not only more accessible to artists, but also offers them additional opportunities to expand the traditional medium’s application.