donderdag 22 december 2016

Psss... impressssion

Pshit impression

I was impressed by the fact that there was to be a printing party at the haunt of the Buktapaktop in Brussels some weeks ago... that is my cup of tea I thought and proceeded to consider what I might contribute. In the past I had been somewhat of a terror in the printroom, and the somewhat anguished head printer opted I may be considered somewhat of an artist, but a printer? No.
I ad been too far influenced by alternative mindsets to discipline myself enough to produce a decent run of prints that were of comparative quality and competence... I loved the process to be sure, but found it immensely difficult to re-produce, repeat and refrain from adding touches, well, modifications, additions, variations... 
I had been impressed by a print made by Dieter Roth sometime in the seventies I presume, since it was a key reason for my choosing printmaking as a major when entering the hallowed halls of the academic pursuit of artistry... it was a chocolate praline that had been printed... as simple as that. It had not been inked up, it had not been dissected, but just tucked in under the blankets of an unsuspecting etching press and rolled on through (obviously with some modification of the pressure, being slightly more lumpy than a copper plate. The result was spectacular, the foul wrapper had become a chinese bird, sporting both interior and exterior colours, stuck chine-collé style to a lengthy smear of sienna and earth-brown hues, first widening and them tapering to a slight wisp of conté it seemed... a masterpiece of simplicity.

Of course it fit in with his conceptual series concerning chocolate and the consumption of... by humans or fungi as it were, but I had taken this face value and began to churn all sorts of objects through the robust but also delicate Charles brand presses at the school... to the dismay of the studio head and technical assistants. The blankets suffered terribly and had to be prematurely replaced... the pin-up wallspace had been somewhat taken over by my ‘etudes’ in junk composition and the junk itself was beginning to pile up in what otherwise was a very neatly run printshop... I even took to hanging up some composition for the lack of space... one was a large panel festooned with found footage as it were, having recuperated bales of shredded documents from nearby banks, pressed in between plates of plastic with some other junk added, dripping charbonnel that couldn’t really dry in those circumstances... anyway, a mess.

Even with all my efforts I never really got to the simple essence of that one bon-bon that had met with unyielding pressure... and so, these many years later I found this proposal of a “Imprimature sans rime ni raison” by Alan Amate at the Buktapaktop the perfect opportunity to revisit this failed attempt at simple greatness... Alas, it was again to end up in disaster...

I had envisioned to participate in the preparatory session slated for the weekend preceding the official launch... to do a few tests as a rationally inclined person might do. We were running late and while i a supermarket I grabbed some chocolate somethings in a see-through Perspex box... they were wrapped in a golden foil, which was what I wanted... But in the end we never made it to Brussels and so the box of chocs lay around in the car for a week...

By the time the public print-run rolled around I was already busy again with other things but knew I had the Perspex box in the car... so decided to participate as planned... When we got there quite a few people were already very busy and the walls were already quite full of all sorts of printwork... the kind that I could relate to: not one print was the same as the other... everyone was having fun trying out things, collaborating on pieces and just plain being experimentalist sort of like... just about the last thing you wanted in a tight run printroom with a serious run to be done by yesterday...

red mangle (remember mangelware?)

I had brought my little red mangle especially... I thought it too much to expect to be able to use the gleaming etching press with it’s pristine blankets... memories of the admonishment I got in school were to blame... but all the well, because my chocolates were in fact round spheres... I prepared everything on a low table and stool, opened the Perspex box and was called to aide someone to arrange letters and fix them in the proofpress nearby... this obviously took a while, and admittedly I enjoyed doing it, for it had been a while... (ah those days when we produced our own posters...) anyway, by the time I got back someone (more than one surely...) had eaten all but three of the round chocolate elairs... zut alors! Luckily I had a few near the stove to heat up before the impression, otherwise I would have nothing at all.
 sore eyewear

Anyway, the first impression came out shitty... really, it looked like shit, literally, since it was a sort of choc-o-nuts concoction and was smeared Rorschach-like in two directions, reminding, as one proud member-father noted, of his still recent chore of cleaning up small children... thus far from the elegant ‘extended praline’ I was hoping for... same goes for the next and the next, encased in envelopes specially printed on the proof press with a variation of the letters oeuf as further reference to a chocolate egg once molten in a back pocket in Africa (that is another story)...

So after all these years considering doing what I had just done, it seemed a bit of an anticlimactic dud... with a thud. Even hanging next to other creations on the washing line did not even make it worse, no sense in comparing or contrasting, conceptualizing or compounding an already shitty situation... only fungi perhaps could still turn this rather fecal looking composition into something curiously colourful... so, as too Dieter Roth liked to extend the life of his work by allowing degenerate bacteria to swarm across his work, so too I thought this might be a solution... but by the time I got back someone had already committed the work to the garbage, and so any further development in discoloration would have to occur anonymously somewhere in a waste-disposal plant.


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