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When I studied art and design in the United States, it saddened me not to see any recognition of Central European culture or contributions in the colorful art history textbooks that were used in my courses. I’m originally from the Czech Republic. Throughout my studies, I missed mentions of my home region’s functionalist architecture, poster design and typography, and art concepts like artificialism or concretism. Later, when I joined the printmaking community in New York City, I realized that if there is familiarity with the region’s print medium, it is often fragmentary and without context.

From the Editor

Volume 1, Number 1

published October 2015

76 pages

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digital: pdf

Exploring the Physical State of the Matrix

By Lenka Vilhelmova

[2,387 words] Living in a contemporary world inundated with digital technologies, one can feel distracted by the abundance of fleeting virtual images. Consequently, traditional practices of visual art, like printmaking and book arts, seem especially distant. Printmaking involves many intricate creative processes for artists, who must learn to understand natural materials, develop the craftsmanship to mold them and perform the activities with thorough, logical thinking. Challenging practices like these seem to be fading away in contemporary visual culture. Nevertheless, many artists still embrace the printmaking process; some of them even indulge in the exploration of the physical state of the printmaking plate.

In Krakow, Printmaking Persists with Tradition and Experimentation

By Katarzyna Haber

[2,372 words] At a time when the boundaries between art media become increasingly blurred, the question concerning the autonomy of the print and printmaking seems to be of key importance. Does printmaking manage to retain its independence amidst the ongoing development of experimental forms that extend far beyond the classical formula of the matrix and the print? Transcending the traditional practices and perceptions of printmaking is an opportunity many artists choose to take. In Poland, a discussion has been going on for many years as to whether prints can survive in the contemporary art scene.

     The International Print Triennial Krakow is one of the foremost European initiatives as far as the presentation of contemporary printmaking is concerned. Originated in 1966 as a biennial (and changed into a triennial in 1991), the event has presented an array of experimental works, as well as many created by traditional techniques. The inaugural 1966 exhibition included artists such as David Hockney, Eduardo Paolozzi, Hans Hartung, Victor Vasarely and Zao Wou-Ki. Throughout the 1970s, the Krakow exhibition featured the works of Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns and Frank Stella.

Letterist Eduard Ovcacek Continues Into the Digital Age

By Katerina Kyselica

[2,445 words]  Since the 1950s, Eduard Ovcacek has worked in almost every artistic medium, including painting, sculpture, installation, photography and performance. In terms of printmaking, he has covered intaglio, lithography and screen printing, and now, he indulges his pursuits in the digital realm. Throughout his extensive journey, he has been exploiting the single smallest unit of the written language system: the grapheme.

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Slovenian Printmaking: A Journey Through Six Decades

By Breda Skrjanec

[2,461 words] In Slovenia, a small European nation of little over two million, people like to think that they are a country of artists. Printmaking is one of the many disciplines that the nation’s artists practice. Founded in the tradition of the Ljubljana School of Graphic Art, modern Slovenian printmaking has developed over the course of more than five decades into a contemporary autonomous art form with its own laws and modes of expression.

Christopher Nowicki's Take on Mezzotint, Teaching, and the Raven

By Rada Nita

[2,834 words] Christopher Nowicki is an American artist of Polish ancestry who has lived in Poland for over 20 years. He works primarily in mezzotint, and takes on the challenge of changing people’s preconceived ideas on what images should look like or represent. I met Professor Nowicki at the Wroclaw School of Printmaking in 2010, while on my first scholarship there. It was a pleasure to talk about his journey, printmaking traditions, artistry and even magic in the course of our interview.

Print Collages in the Third Dimension, Revering Jiri Kolar

By Katerina Kyselica

[1,333 words]  Among the many virtues of Czech poet and visual artist Jiri Kolar (1914–2002), his engagement with other artists was especially important during the Soviet era. Under the repressive communist system, free creative expression faced indifference and a fall into oblivion. I invited four New York-based artists, all of whom work in printmaking, to collaborate with me by each creating a small paper object in response to Kolar’s oeuvre. Kolar’s celebrated works were experimental in form and pushed the boundaries of modern art. He developed and defined a wide range of collage styles in his Dictionary of Methods (Revue K, 1991), including “rollage” “chiasmage,” “crumblage” and “froissage.” It is common for practicing printmakers to save many of their “rejects” and “proofs” and later recycle the papers into collages. Doing so helps artists further explore their ideas. Because of such parallels, combining the approaches of contemporary printmakers with those of Kolar seemed like a good match.

In a Space Where Each Dot Matters: Vojtech Kovarik on Reality and the Raster

By Alena Laufrova, translated from Czech by Katerina Kyselica

[3,396 words] I visited Vojtech Kovarik in his studio in Kolin, a town in the Czech Republic that lies 34 miles east of Prague. Surrounded by a complex of industrial buildings once occupied by TESLA, the former Czechoslovak electro-technical manufacturer, we looked through his prints and discussed his methods for making them, as well as the circumstances and surroundings of their creation. Kovarik employs a systematic approach to printmaking, basing the printed images off of photographs.

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