By Endi Poskovic | Two eloquently disquieting projects, Crossing and Dream, recent avatars of my ongoing traversal between the analog and digital realms, converge according to pillars of the printed image: multiplicity, seriality and translation. They reflect on a way of life unafflicated by temporality yet devastated by violent events in the country of my birth, Yugoslavia.
Image: Endi Poskovic, Srebreni (I was born into great joy), 2015–2018, woodcut printed from 5 interchangeable plates in 8 colors on Kozo Okawara paper, 28 x 20 inches image size, 32 x 24 inches paper size, unique, photograph by the artist.
Central to my modus operandi is a certain orthodoxy of image, a persuasive visual representation revealed via expended drawing practice and manifested through a matrix printed on paper. In the mid-1990s, my strategy of developing images fortuitously advanced through expressive relief carving in conjunction with elementary hand-printing, amounting to woodcuts emblazoned with bold captions (Majestic, 2002–2018, la Souffrance et l’Aventure Series, 1998–2002). These early pieces arose in reaction to my academic training in intaglio and lithography and as a statement against the platitudes of intense debates about analog printmaking versus rapidly emerging digital variants. These past few years, I have actually expanded upon experimental inter-technological exercises, applying bit-map and laser engraving to color woodblock prints and stone lithographs.
My two current groups of works, the multimedia Crossing Series, animated films and lithographs, and Dream Series, laser-engraved color woodblock prints, have grown organically and in close proximity to one another, oftentimes in tandem. While Crossing refers to a trip to my family's ancestral birthplace in Southeastern Herzegovina, Dream penetrates deeper into the ideas of “restorative“ and “reflective“ nostalgia by dissecting the themes of exile, diaspora, cultural memory and national identity connected to efforts to reconstruct a perceived past.1
Both projects hover between a dream and an unnamed reality, resisting classification. Eloquently disquieting, they bring the viewer into orbits of displacement and recollection, conveying a sense of the habitual, everyday experience within an unfamiliar world.
The series were collaborative efforts: Crossing with Jill Graham, master printer of Tamarind Institute in New Mexico; Dream with Chris Woodcock of Workshop Laser & Fab in Krakow, Poland, along with master printers Tetsuo Soyama and Toshio Soyama of Mokuhanga Innovation Lab in Tokyo and Mokuhanga Studio Laboratory in Fujikawaguchiko, Japan.
Crossing Series (2008–2018) discloses a personal tale of discovery. In 2010, I returned for the first time to Southeastern Herzegovina (part of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the former Yugoslavia). The trip afforded me an encounter with familiar communities and a way of life untainted by time yet devastated by war and violent demographic displacements....
The project evolved into a multimedia endeavor in which sculpture, drawing, printmaking and animation informed each other. The imagery is based on photographs and drawings of my sculpted aluminum-foil models of bergs, Yugoslav architecture, and Brutalist monuments like the Monument to the Battle of Sutjeska (that inspired my print Test Stone with a Rock study III (Distant View after H. Seghers), three different versions of which I produced in 2012, 2013 and 2015). I scanned these pictures as blueprints and then continued my investigations with drawing, etching the stone matrix, printing and filmmaking. The prints were created through additive and subtractive lithography, using the transferred photograph or drawing as a foundation. Stone plate surfaces, unlike metal, are effaceable and therefore allow for opportunities to edit the compositions thereon. Through this system, I printed frames for short stop-motion films that I later rendered into animated sequences (which, in return, motivated me to generate new lithographs and drawings).
Image: Endi Poskovic, Spomenik – Veliki Plavi, 2012–2015, stone lithograph on Kozo Okawara paper, 24 x 36 inches paper size, unique, photograph by the artist.
The Dream Series (beginning 2015) mirrors my own history that unfolded in wake of the fall of Yugoslavia. For an immigrant of 28 years, a constant adaptation to change has become the norm. This allegorical body of work acts as a fragment situated within an indistinct, yet open setting that bears no direct relation to any specific space or event. The dichotomy between the central image and its surroundings invites the viewer to construct a meaning using cues of limited visual data together with the works' titles, inscribed in English and Slavic languages...
[This article appears in full in the print and digital edition of Celebrating Print, Volume 4, Number 1-2. All right reserved ©KADS New York, 20018.]
1. See: Svetlana Boym, The Future of Nostalgia (New York: Basic Books, 2001). Both series, especially Dream, build upon Svetlana Boym’s theories on “restorative” and “reflective” nostalgia.
Endi Poskovic printing proofs for woodblocks at No. 15 Studios in Kazimierz, Old Town Krakow, Poland, 2016, as a US Senior Fulbright Scholar during the 2015–2016 academic year. Photograph by Edyta Dufaj.
This article Endi Poskovic: In Crossing the Dreams to Unnamed Reality appears in the print edition of Celebrating Print, Vol.4 No.1-2 (double issue), published in November 2018.
ENDI POSKOVIC (b. 1969, Sarajevo, former Yugoslavia) is a multimedia artist working in printmaking, sculpture, drawing, film and other techniques. His prints have been exhibited in key international print venues. He has received grants and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the United States Fulbright Commission, the John D. Rockefeller Foundation, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the Norwegian government, the Camargo Foundation, the Flemish Ministry of Culture and the New York State Council on the Arts, among others. Poskovic’s works are represented in private and public collections, such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, the Detroit Institute of Arts, Fondation Fernet Branca (France) and Jincheon Art Museum (South Korea). Poskovic served as a member of the International Jury of the International Print Triennial Krakow (2012, 2015); he is a professor of art and design at the University of Michigan Stamps School of Art and Design.