Printmaking and the network
When artists Garrett Lynch and Frédérique Santune came over from Canterbury earlier in the month to visit, they trawled the local galleries, and Garrett later, impishly, remarked to me that the Ikon exhibition of prints wasn't of interest to him because it wasn't networked. I finally managed to see the exhibition myself today, a collection of Max Klinger prints from Liepzig, and I'm awed by their beauty and resonance. The catalogue (which I, uncharacteristically, bought) really struggles to do them justice, and I'll be seeking out a better collection of reproductions. The original prints have an incredible clarity of line with which Klinger could render light scenes of dropped gloves and ice skating, breath-takingly dark symbolic or surrealistic dream imagery, and melodramatic tableaux of life, love and death. Christiane Baumgartner's video-derived woodcut prints which accompany the Klinger work at Ikon are themselves deserving of attention. In fact it's these prints which for me connect Klinger (and the painstaking technology of print-making) to the work of people like Lynch and Santune. Baumgartner works like an organic fax machine, literally transcribing images from electronic media by hand, in the process simultaneously making them about speed and freezing them in time, wood, and ink. The printing process both prefigures the world of the network and establishes many of its metrics (accuracy, reproducibility, speed). While for Klinger drawing seems to have been a means of locating the dreamlike and super-real, Baumgartner embraces the instantaneity of the photograph then teases out its means of establishing and propagating image. This doesn't seem so far removed from what artists like Lynch are doing with the technologies of the network.