Paul Thirkell (Session Chair)
Senior Research Fellow
Centre for Fine Print Research
University of the West of England
Bristol, United Kingdom
Telephone: 0117 328 4835
Session: "Printmaking as Enlightenment Aesthetics: What is Left of this Tradition?"
Paper: "The Enlightened Path from Didero to Digital"
While prints such as those illustrating Diderot’s Encyclopedia facilitated the age of enlightenment, the use of print to impart knowledge has been hampered by what Ivings initially identified as the syntax of the print medium. Although in Iving’s view, the subjectivity of various autographic print illustration techniques was eventually overcome by the invention of photomechanical reproduction, print theorists have subsequently highlighted similar subjective characteristics in photomechanical illustration methods.
Although visual knowledge is transmitted due to recent technological advances more widely and potentially objectively than ever before, the concerns of fine art printmaking have largely clung a more romantic and subjective approach to visual communication often favouring the private and mystical over the social and communicable. Despite this mainstream aesthetic, there have been a number of movements such as the Dada and Fluxus movements who have used print in a more utilitarian way to communicate their aesthetic intentions. Their work however is often either marginalized in print history and in some cases totally unrecognised. This presentation aims to examine some of these forgotten areas and highlight a range of contemporary artists who through the use of digital technology have once again brought to life some of the ideals this tradition.
Session: "Command 'P' Digital Session"
Paper: "A Borderless State: Redefining Print in the Digital Age"
With the increasing development of digital technology many of the traditional borders between fine art disciplines have been dissolved. This paper aims to examine whether the entity of printmaking can continue to hold a tangible identity in such an environment. It will test the proposition that its new identity may lie in a specific attitude to image making rather than being defined through the artists use of officially sanctioned printing techniques. A series of digitally generated artworks will be examined to illustrate this thesis.
Portfolio showings in the Muzeum Narodowe w Poznaniu, Patio Hall
Portfolio Presentation: "Original /Reproduction"
This portfolio presentation is comprised of ten collotype prints thematically exploring the dichotomy between ‘original’ and ‘reproduction’ exemplified by collotype’s history and practice, Curated and printed by Paul Thirkell, the artists include: Stanley Jones UK, Jan Pettersson Norway, Claudio Acuri Italy, Paul Coldwell UK, Akiko Takizawa UK/Japan. Although collotype has never been produced on the same industrial scale as printing techniques such as the ubiquitous offset lithography, it was consistently employed throughout the twentieth century as a specialized medium for printing the highest quality book illustrations and single sheet reproductions. Although its photographically accurate continuous tone printing characteristics and exceptional color qualities remain (even in the digital age) largely unparalleled, its economic viability was gradually eroded during the latter half of the twentieth century.
PAUL THIRKELL is a printmaker/researcher who produces prints in a wide range of mediums spanning 19th century to 21st century with various hybrids thrown in for good measure. He is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Fine Print Research, University of the West of England. His prints deal with aspects of the mortal and moral, human experience and the natural sciences elucidated through a complex web of visual languages appropriated from the annals of print history. In the last 18 months or so Thirkell has produced a new body of digital prints for a solo exhibition (‘Eternal’) at the Centrespace Gallery in Bristol, He has also produced work for and curated a large international digital print exhibition ‘New Directions in Print’/’A Borderless State’ at the Miskolc Arts Centre, Hungary and an exhibition (Altered Images) at the Stoke on Trent Museum and Art Gallery of digitally generated ceramic relief images made in response to -and shown alongside- the work of George Cartlidge (the inventor of the original process). More recently Thirkell has hosted in Bristol the 2nd International Collotype Conference bringing together some of the few remaining commercial and amateur practitioners from the USA, Germany, UK Italy and Japan. Scheduled for imminent release is a paper by Paul to be published on the Tate Gallery website “From the Green Box to Typo/Topography of Marcel Duchamp’s Large Glass: Duchamp and Hamilton’s dialogue in print.”