|<back tu archive||November 18, 2005 - January 8, 2006:
Swiss Prints 1980 - 2005
An exhibition of the ETH Zurich Collection of Prints and Drawings hosted by Helmhaus Zurich
|Since the 1980s printmakers have experimented with large formats and, in prints as in painting, surfaces have become bigger and bigger. Martin Disler and Josef Felix Müller extended their series to five-meter works arranged as comprehensive room installations; the studio floor, altered with an axe, can even serve as a matrix (Josef Felix Müller). Printing is described by these artists as a physically experienced process (Martin Disler). Miriam Cahn, for example, in her drypoint series soldaten, frauen + tiere
(1995) used gloves, to the palms and fingertips of which she attached rough sandpaper. This allowed her to
work on the printing plate directly with her hands.
Closely connected with this sensory experience of working the printing plate are the themes depicted there, where the focus is the human as a physical and mental being (Martin Disler, Josef Felix Müller, Klaudia Schifferle). Something different, however, is seen in the works of John Armleder, Helmut Federle, Jean-Luc Manz and Olivier Mosset, whose abstract-concrete orientation produced geometric representations of the artists' everyday surroundings or subjective experience. These artists altered their repertoire of form at will, or allowed it to be determined haphazardly. They rejected, however, art designed entirely according to mathematical rules, such as that of Max Bill or Richard Paul Lohse.
Artists at the close of the 1980s and in the 1990s depicted in their works what at first glance appear to be generally understood images from the world of consumer goods, mass media and trivial culture (Ian Anüll, Nic Hess, Fabrice Gygi). What seem simple renderings of existing conventional trappings, however, reveal themselves on closer inspection to be subversive acts: established iconographic or linguistic meanings are questioned as trusted symbols and figures are removed from their accustomed frameworks and set in new contexts.
Since the early 1980s artists have increasingly returned to old, out-of-use reproduction techniques such as mezzotint engraving (Jan Jedlička), aquatint (Marc-Antoine Fehr), drypoint (Mireille Gros), heliogravure (Balthasar Burkhard, Cécile Wick) or woodcut (Franz Gertsch). Photographs often provide the basis for graphic works. But despite this hearkening back to older methods originally deployed because of the advantages their high black-and-white contrast reproduction presented for duplication, it is now individual artistic flow which is the focus, not the precise, technically perfect copy.
To sample the most diverse media has now become the rule for young artists. They work with computer and printer and convert and rework the resulting images using traditional printing techniques (Stefan Altenburger, Dominique Lämmli, Kerim Seiler, Christian Vetter). In this context hybrid forms are emerging, which move between printing, photography and the computer image.
Opening: Thursday, November 17, 2005, 18.00, Helmhaus Zurich
Bernadette Walter (> e-mail)
This exhibition concludes a three-part cycle: following Fahrt ins zwanzigste Jahrhundert [Journey into the Twentieth Century] - showing 20th-century printed artwork up through the 1950s - and Flugstunde - with works to the end of the 1970s - this third presentation is dedicated to modern Swiss printmaking. To conclude the project we are proud to announce the publication of Schweizerische Druckgraphik im
20. Jahrhundert [Swiss Printmaking in the 20th Century] by Eva Korazija, with a contribution by Bernadette Walter (Schwabe: Basel)
Thursday, November 24, 2005, 18.30, Helmhaus Zürich:
A discussion with Silvia Bächli, Dora Frey, Eva Korazija and Kerim Seiler.
Moderator: Paul Tanner
Thursday, December 1, 2005, 18.30, Graphische Anstalt J.E. Wolfensberger AG:
Visit to a printing workshop
Meeting point: Bederstrasse 109, 8002 Zürich (Tram 13 to Waffenplatzstrasse)
Sunday, November 20, 2005, 11.00, with Bernadette Walter
Thursday, December 29, 2005, 18.30, with Paul Tanner
Sunday, January 8, 2006, 11 Uhr, with Bernadette Walter