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Marija Sibinović

Printmaking in Multimedia Artwork

The PhD Arts project entitled City Reflections: Printmaking Principles in the Function of City Space Visualization deals with the phenomena of transparency and reflectiveness in the context of urban architecture and art. The aim of the project is to create a multimedia installation based on the various qualities of the phenomena in question.


City Reflections: Printmaking Principles in the Function of City Space Visualization, exhibition of PhD Arts project, SKC Gallery, Belgrade, 2.7 – 11.7.2019.

By taking on an interdisciplinary approach, both in the artistic practice and the theory behind it, the topic was examined through the relevant theoretical concepts and the historical aspects of transparency and reflectiveness, while also considering the artistic heritage and the contemporary art scene. The different phases of the practical research and creation included taking photos and films of the city ambiance, a synthesis and abstraction of the footage, transposing what was experienced, experimenting with printing and different media components, creating different structures and responding to the given space.

Connecting various media trajectories in the context of a contemporary environment and the perception of the chosen phenomena creates an artistic response to the visual sensations that surround us in our daily life in the urban environment. The creation of a multimedia piece that essentially problematizes printmaking and the contemporary urban environment represents a potentially new aspect for printmaking, because it deviates from the established conventions of the classically defined medium. By being connected thematically and spatially with the city elements, printmaking participates in the interaction of the different effects of media, thereby inevitably acquiring a new context within such correlation.



The process of creating the multimedia piece began with the visual trajectory as the primary experiential area, and the further development of other media trajectories based on the initial impulse. The idea was to introduce a classical technique - printmaking, to a multimedia installation. I wanted to thematically and spatially connect my primary way of artistic expression, hand printing, with the modern (urban) environment. I kept the phenomena of transparency and reflectiveness at the heart of the project, underlining their potential for interconnectedness, the ways in which we perceive and experience them through physical, sensory sensations, and conceptual, theoretical settings. In the research process I came to an abstraction of the main motifs, so the main form of expression comes from the fields of texture and the vibrancy of the colors. Around 150 prints, 50x70cm in size, were created using relief printing from zinc plates, mostly on transparent PVC 0,5mm foil. The mostly blue colors are of different hues due to their more neutral character, and at first glance they seem like glass facades, the urban places of reflection of sky and air. They are grouped into various structures, conceived in different formations and combinations depending on the spatial and technical possibilities. The idea of the exhibition was to perhaps redefine the gallery space, so it was necessary to build on its existing features and elements. The SKC Gallery exhibition setting was determined by the position of the gallery windows, its elements pointing to the panes and communicating with each other. In that sense, the whole exhibition was composed of four parts, which visitors could experience much like they would city formations, but in a gallery edition. The visual component of this multimedia work consisted of two-dimensional surfaces - prints and screens created using surveillance cameras, and three-dimensional forms - objects. The other component, sound, consisted of two layers - a previously created ambiental composition, and the discrete echo which happened on the spot. Transparency and reflectiveness permeate the exhibit in different ways, and in their most obvious form as the physical qualities of the prints, which were incorporated in different variants throughout the setting. They were also present in their relation to digital media, and their use in building sound. Video surveillance uses the camera and the screen to vulgarize transparency - the exposure to a gaze. so By looking through the screen, as a transparent medium, this situation is turned in the direction of reflectiveness - a view of display per se, a view of oneself and of the exhibition. One of the central themes is the lack of transparency, ever present and talked about nowadays, as well as the question of who is watching and when. Finally, we can discuss the open-ended act of reading and self-reflection in relation to the work itself - considering multimedia and printmaking within the relation of material and media. The personal approach is reflected in the combination of various media, which, if not to answer, aim to pose questions regarding the contemporaneity of the work itself, and the life circumstances in which it is created, by activating the focused gaze, using aesthetic qualities, and an underlying sense of distance and unavailability.


In contemporary multimedia works, the standard rules of printmaking as a discipline no longer apply so rigidly, especially in the case of installations, so the standardized notation and authorship, the technical purity and precision of each part of the process are not so important. Moreover, deviation and destabilization from the standards can bring forth results which contribute to the meaning and quality of the work. If used in a multimedia form, the number of printed copies inherent to printmaking, can become part of a new context, possibly referring to the very idea of multiplication, and thus become an artistic means, or end, depending on whether the idea is connected to repetition, the process of hand printing, or a general approach.

In terms of originality, the printed copies are an essential part of the multimedia piece, and therefore deviate from the standardized marking. They are part of some kind of process, and as long as they are in this form, they act in relations to the other elements. Just as the observer forms the final part of the exhibition, due to his/her appearance on the screen, so does the print carry an important role by entering the comparative mechanism. In the printing process for the project City Reflections: Printmaking Principles in the Function of City Space Visualization, multiplication was treated as a necessary feature of the images of the city and its mirror repetitions. Connecting the urban sphere with printmaking and its principles turned out to be an almost natural way of expressing a repetitiveness, as well as a juxtaposition of old and new, progressive and repressive, mantric, ethereal and rational. Just by walking on the line of its own standards, printmaking can embark on the creation of a multimedia work, and as a media, offer not only its visual content but also its immanent principles, the questions of multiplication, creation of a visual image, perception, communication and the relationship to one's own techniques.


New aspects of both media and cities are keeping up with the times. The possibilities of transmitting, producing and manipulating information can also be used in artistic practices, not only as a means, but by referencing the role of media, and how it shapes perception and experience of the world. The starting point - printmaking, is also an important link between manual work and hectic urban progress; this subtlety also gives a special appeal to the whole picture, and is probably the reason why the work is largely accepted as more than just "cold" glass exteriors, despite the use of an artificial material such as PVC foil. The static, but variable, imprint served as a basis for the visualization of the city, a basis for the movement and interconnectedness of simultaneous images. The multiple prints function as windows of a modular character of urban landscapes, thus opening up issues of media production and establishing connections with the urban ambience.

(Adapted from the original thesis City Reflections: Printmaking Principles in the Function of City Space Visualization, written under the mentorship of prof.Vladimir Milanovic, PhD Arts)

Marija Sibinović

Translation from Serbian: Dunja Karanović

Marija Sibinović (1989, Belgrade), graduated (2012) and completed her Master’s Degree (2013) at the Faculty of Applied Arts in Belgrade, module of graphics and books, class of Mirjana Tomašević, MA. She completed her doctoral studies in 2021 at the University of Arts in Belgrade, multimedia art study program, mentor Prof. Vladimir Milanovic. She is a member of ULUPUDS (art association). Since 2016, she has been engaged in teaching the subject of Graphics at the Faculty of Applied Arts. She has held eight solo exhibitions and participated in numerous group exhibitions in Serbia and abroad (Bulgaria, China, USA, Mexico).



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