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Where is printmaking? In search of new meanings

Published 27 Jan 2013
Gdzie jest grafika?

Opening of the exhibition: 31 January 2013, 6.00 p.m. Duration of the exhibition: from 1 February to 10 March 2013

The Contemporary Art Gallery in Opole
Plac Teatralny 12
45-056 Opole

Curator: Aleksandra Janik

What determines the borderlines of printmaking? Does the combination of the technological processes of woodcut and video in the work on an image, as proposed by Christiane Baumgartner, already constitute the crossing of the borders of the graphic medium? Does the use of a road roller to make a duplicate print of a large-format woodcut by Bodo Korsig not cause confusion in the classification of printmaking? How to classify Willi Cole's images burned out by means of an iron? Are the silkscreen projects made by means of coal dust on the water surface by Oscar Muñoz prints? Can a used car tire be a matrix for a print? – Betsabeé Romero, a Mexican artist, convinces us that it can.

Where is printmaking? Is it printmaking? Is it still printmaking? It seems that critics and the audience find these questions (and answers to them) the most problematic. Artists seem to be dealing with them much better. They reach for new digital solutions, restore classic techniques, print on alternative surfaces (such as leather, metal or glass), use unusual materials and tools, such as a cutting plotter or a laser. They propose extremely diversified formats and forms of their works, starting from the intimate, classic form of a book to vast multi-element projects, and ending with objects or installations. The problem consists in overcoming not the limits of technical possibilities but the limits in thinking.

Organizing an exhibition focused only on the technical aspects - both the well known techniques of the art of printmaking and the new experimental ones - does not seem particularly interesting now; however, provoking a discussion on how they serve a certain message included by the artist in his/her work, and what is their unique contribution to the image - which cannot be provided by other media - seems quite appealing.

The previous exhibitions in the Contemporary Art Gallery in Opole concomitant with the International Print Triennial have always had a "borderline" and comparative character: East Meets West, Etching versus Digit, Is it Still Graphic Art or Already Photography? This time we have chosen the works of artists who penetrate the vast areas of the printmaking universe in search of new meanings and new possibilities of imaging. The selection of works has been subjective, as any other selection would be possible as well. We have, first of all, focused on the works of authors who make a conscious and unique use of the formal and aesthetic values of the art of printmaking. We have compared experimental works in classic techniques with technological innovations, intriguing examples of combining techniques and untypical perception of the matrix and surface, performative printmaking falling outside any classification, printmaking in dialogue with the third dimension, and printmaking within the public space. 

We do hope that we have succeeded in presenting a selection of mature and refined works, with their affluence of artistic and cultural references, which will be a source of both intellectually and emotionally genuine experiences for the spectators.

info: Aleksandra Janik


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