September 30, New York City. We did it again! As the third edition of Celebrating Print Magazine is rolling off the printing press, we are gearing up to celebrate its publication. Join us in New York City for 2.2 Launch Party during New York Print Week, the largest international print event. Stop by to check out the magazine, meet the editor, enjoy the live performance of jazz singer-songwriter Martina Fiserova and chat with fellow print enthusiasts. We promise to enlighten you with our fresh perspectives on printmaking as an autonomous art discipline.
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 2
Published October 2016, 80 pages. Shipping to begin October 26.
by Katerina Kyselica
Even seemingly banal experiences may induce new discoveries, be it an altered perception of self or a pivotal realization about one’s surroundings. Artists often harbor a special sensitivity to the experiences that they absorb, analyze and envisage as a representation through chosen tools. They convey messages that carefully embed their experiential inspiration. This intimate process could materialize through a methodical construction; a gestural, emotional expression; or even an automatic transcription of dreams. Nevertheless, sooner or later, the time comes when artists’ messages set sail on their own journey and enter into the infinite conduits of interpretation. The odyssey is reminiscent of the telephone game; an initial notion alters according to myriad perceptions and accepted understandings by the time it reaches its destination, the final recipient.
feature | by Julia Meszaros (5,852 words)
Gabor Gyorgy Nagy, Spilled Petals 3, 2005, computer graphic, inkjet print on vinyl, 26 x 40 5/8 inches (66 x 103 cm), photograph by the artist.
Challenged by unfavorable political conditions during their decades-long search for an innovative visual language, Hungarian artists defied printmaking traditions as they exploited newfound technologies. They ultimately succeeded in redefining printmaking as an evolving art form open to multimedia interventions. The presented chronology encompasses several pivotal periods of innovative experimentation—screen printing in the 1970s, the Xerox photocopier in the 1980s, electrographics in the 1990s—and examines generational shifts reflected in artists’ attitudes towards societal norms, self-identity, the human psyche, globalization effects and mass culture.
In Hungary, the first fine art prints appeared around the turn of the 19th into the 20th century, in the oeuvre of painters like Jozsef Rippl-Ronai, Viktor Olgyai and Karoly Ferenczy, who studied in Western Europe. Printmaking as an independent medium began to integrate into the structures of Hungarian fine arts before World War I. The establishment of the printmaking department at the Hungarian Royal Institute of Arts and Crafts in Budapest in 1910 acknowledged the autonomy of the practice, formally separating it from reproductive printing and typography. The restructuring of the printmaking department at the Hungarian College of Fine Arts[ii] in Budapest, headed by Viktor Olgyai, ultimately finalized the medium’s detachment from graphic design in 1921.
...Illustration, drawing and printmaking have become and remained synonymous in the Hungarian public opinion. Art collectors have maintained the interconnection of the three fields for the past century. Drawing is appreciated for the beauty of lines, clarity of contours, composition, completeness of forms and brilliance of execution; illustration is revered for figurativity based on the principles of nature or ironic drama. The criteria for evaluating prints include the professionalism of technical execution and accuracy of graphic language. Along with illustrators, Hungarian printmakers enjoyed relative freedom of expression throughout the 1960s and 1970s, largely because the socialist government did not consider them a threat. The established definition of the Hungarian printmaking tradition carried on for decades. It stood, however, in a sharp ideological contrast to the wide acceptance of various alternative practices adapted into printmaking: photo-based printing; Xerox and computer printing; combinations of digital, photographic and traditional processes; printing on alternative materials like fabric or cloth; and conceptual approaches. Despite the breadth of experimental tendencies, the unconventional techniques were not accepted as equal to the traditional methods and forms until the end of the 1990s.
interview | by Katerina Kyselica (2,811 words)
Kamila Stanclova, The Old Moving House (detail), 1982, etching, 23 5/8 x 19 5/8 inches image size (60 x 50 cm), 30 7/8 x 25 1/16 inches paper size (78.5 x 65.5 cm), edition of 60, photograph by the artist.
Dreams may seem like a mirage. For Slovak artist Kamila Stanclova, who works in painting, printmaking and drawing, dreaming is almost like breathing. I was invited to peek into Ms. Stanclova’s intimate world of art making that turned out to be as expansive as her imagination. The studio occupying the entire top floor of her and her husband Dusan Kallay’s family home in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, was bathed in the abundance of soft daylight. The realms of literature and visual arts interlace in the practice of Ms. Slanclova, who was trained as a printmaker and book illustrator, the realms of literature and visual arts interlace. Her command of printmaking is breathtaking, as if she were born to make prints.
feature | by Eva Trojanova (5,322 words)
Vladimir Gazovic, Carousel of Life (detail), 1983, lithograph,, 29 7/8 x 22 1/8 inches image size (75.8 x 56.3 cm), 32 x 23 5/8 inches paper size (81.3 x 60 cm), edition of 33, photograph by Pavel Melus.
Vladimir Gazovic constructs fantastic realms to elucidate our understanding of the real world. The seemingly unreal visuals of phantasmal imagery and unsavory figures manifest from the artist’s astute observation of life. Through his stunning color lithographs embellished with a kaleidoscope of colors, Gazovic delivers a sharp taste of humanity seasoned with irony, sarcasm, hyperbole and ridicule. This Slovak artist’s efforts to reveal the truth have yielded a unique body of work—one that exhibits intense emotional character and transcends conventional fantasy art.
Out of Vladimir Gazovic’s many prints, perhaps the title of one piece, Regarding the Need for Fantasy (1968), provides the best clue for understanding his oeuvre—as an expression of imagination used to elucidate our worldly existence. At the same time, his imagery seems to alert viewers that art goes beyond the mere depiction of the surrounding world. From Da Vinci to Bosch and Goya, along with the artists of the great periods of Symbolism, Expressionism and Surrealism, various figures throughout history have deviated from the traditional perceptions of art as an illusion or imitation of reality. The element of fantasy has appeared and evolved throughout numerous phases of art development, with the visual language and content of different works reflecting their era of creation. Several individual movements of modern art, like Metaphysical Painting, Cubism, Surrealism, Magical Realism, Pop Art and so-called fantasy art, employed imagination in myriad means.
aesthetic theory | by Barbora Kundracikova (3,047 words)
Alena Kucerova, The Sea, 1972, print from perforated matrix, 20 7/8 x 30 3/8 inches image size (53.2 x 77 cm), 23 7/8 x 35 inches paper size (60.6 x 88.8 cm), edition of 60, photograph by Zdenek Sodoma, collection of the Museum of Modern Art Olomouc.
Deciphering the visual signs of an image may seem like reading a text, as both depend on identification of significance and adoption of lexicography. Yet reading an image does not suffice as a strategy for interpreting its meaning. Unlike words, the visual components of artistic media are inherently open-ended. Printmaking presents a unique case for engaging such intuition since the print testifies for the procedural friction between the artist’s subjective expression and oft-rigorous technical realization.
There are two possible ways to understand the merit of an image: from the bottom, through its empirical being, or from the top, with the use of abstract meaning. In this article, I seek to analyze images through the theoretical approach by focusing on cultural and philosophical context pertaining to the second half of the 20th century and the so-called “linguistic turn” of structuralism in the arts. The said concept involves an examination of the relations between words and graphics, or rather, the ways that pictorial meaning develops in accordance with semantic principles. We are discussing the artistic practice of printmaking, in which the tight connection of pictorial and semantic elements seems intuitively acceptable. Beyond its existential detachment from the original drawing, the print functions as a structure of two autonomous phenomena: an initial, significantly absent, affective response to stimuli, and a subsequent materialized intellectual realization of the experience. The purpose of this reflection is not to analyze possible issues and counterexamples, but to use the theoretical approach to elaborate upon so-called image-thinking. Printmaking presents a peculiar situation because, with the exception of photography, the medium is intrinsically much more technical than any other type of visual art. As such, the viewer who witnesses the printed picture gauges its nature as both an expression of original, whimsical tendencies and a physical form of an intensive production sequence. With that in mind, what does it mean to think not about the image, but through it?
project | by Ana Vivoda (1,412 words)
Ana Vivoda, Traces (composition of three prints), 2016, lift-ground etching, drypoint on Japanese Kawashi paper, 38 1/2 x 77 7/8 inches (98 x 198 cm), unique, printed by the artist, photograph by Ana Vivoda.
I have always seen my conversations with the space in which I exist as fragments capable of reflecting all permanent changes—transformations that occur throughout the surrounding landscape as well as within my internal world. The presented project entitled Traces explores the parallels between the physical environment, the printing plate and my inner landscapes. These unstable surfaces bear traces of intentional activities along with accidental results that take place in a continuous motion.
Developed as a doctoral thesis at the Department of Graphic Arts, Academy of Fine Arts, University of Zagreb, from 2010 to 2013, the project expands upon the traditional practice of intaglio and relief techniques. At the same time, Traces abandons the strict framework of conventional printmaking practice: traditional tools are replaced with elements of nature, such as dried plants or rocks, introducing the environment into the plate; the matrix does not serve the purpose of printing an edition; and the prints are not the final outcome of the project but material documents of the artistic process.