Art History

Printmaking as a process

The research project "Printmaking as Process" belongs to the DFG research group Dimensions of techne in the Arts. Modes of Appearance - Orders - Narratives.

Printmaking processes contradict common notions of the "presence" of the author in his/her work. Unlike painting or drawing, in which the brushstroke or line is placed directly on the image carrier, letterpress and gravure printing are based on transfer processes of a chemical, physical or mechanical nature and often require the cooperation of several specialists. In our project, we are investigating how the problem of authorship was negotiated in the face of these complex work processes, how the work process was made visible and how the interplay between the creative and executive forces was shaped. We pursue these questions on the basis of printing blocks and printed sheets from the late 15th and early 16th centuries.

Work process and authorship in the printed image

Prof. Dr Magdalena Bushart

The sub-project poses questions about the interlocking of different actions and skills from the perspective of printed sheets. Woodcuts, copperplate engravings and etchings are defined as products of prior actions that can provide information about the work process and its evaluation: On the one hand, it is about the thematisation of the design performance and the use of the print syntax for the formation of "individual" design patterns, on the other hand, it is about the changeability of the printed image as it is reflected in states, variants and versions.

The third dimension of the woodcut

Dr Livia Cárdenas

The sub-project focuses on the work process in the three-dimensional, which precedes the two-dimensional print in all processes. The printing blocks are understood as artefacts that are analysed in terms of their materiality, their formal properties and their functionality and can be interrogated for the traces of the production process. At the same time, the double transfer performance - from two-dimensionality to three-dimensionality and back again to two-dimensionality - is brought into view in order to be able to grasp the distribution of roles in the cooperative working process more precisely and to describe the interpretative scope in the realisation of the designs.

More information about the research project