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Jelena Sredanović


The position of printmaking is always a present and ongoing question, since printmaking is live, heterogenous, rich and dynamic form of art expression which changes and develops in accordance to the social setting and the development of aesthetic criteria.
There is a need for overview and evaluation of printmaking and its position. The impression is gained that there is a constant need for proving of the worth of printmaking, i.e. the status of an art form equal to all other forms of expression. Although printmaking medium possesses no dominant character in the contemporary art mainstream, it doesn`t mean that printmaking art is not alive and that it cannot influence the observer. The fact that printmaking is not in the centre of attention can be seen as an advantage, as artists determined to create in this specific medium, find a challenging field of creation and authentic art expression in it, to which they approach truthfully and with inspiration, while they achieve top notch art results in their praxis .


     


Our understanding of contemporary printmaking has constantly been put in question, as it is not static, but the alive part of art system which continuously changes and develops. As well as in other contemporary art praxes, we can also speak about a change of expression forms in printmaking due to which media boundaries blur, merge and erase.
Printmaking managed to answer the challenges of change in contemporary art praxes and boldness and openness of artists was noticed towards different concept and the acceptance of innovations. In the written work of doctor`s art project, D.F.A Dragan Momirov says that printmaking is methodically established, autonomous and flexibile at the same time, thus it leaves enough space for interdisciplinary shifts out of existing constants, research praxis and experimental challenges. As he further alleges: “Nothing less than a painting or a sculpture, nor printmaking objectively suffers closeness and isolation.“¹ In this spirit, 21st century printmaking mostly relies on tradition and it is open for the widening of boundaries, influence of other media and materials.
Contemporary artists, endevour to find their own space in a wide spectrum of available methods, are seeking a possibility to express their ideas and feelings in the vest way. Even more than other forms of art expression, printmaking offers a various spectrum of radically different means of expression, where each one demands a specific way of thinking and approach adjusted to demands and under condition of the chosen procedure.
Nowadays printmaking artists choose and accept new technologies which are available to them, from the laser, inkjet and 3D printers to a laser cutting machine and they also develop new methods of creating and printing of final art proof. New technologies, usually seen as a treat by many, have widened available working possibilities and tools.
In the greater presence of the new technologies it is noticeable a reverse tendency of the return to basics and the anew revelation of the expressing possibilities of traditional printmaking techniques. By centuries old techniques have still been attractive to many authors, among which are the young ones who gain knowledge and skills so they could transfer their ideas onto a printmaking matrix and then to an imprint. Those with a great courage widen the potential of traditional methods and techniques and reveal new possibilities of expression.
Comparing to classical procedures, digital technologies demand a different approach in making of templates and the way of realization of the imprint which does not include a personalized artist`s handmade, long lasting manual work in the studio, physical matrix, printing with a press and tactile values of the imprint. It took time to overcome diametral oppositions between these procedures.
“In accordance with today`s pluralistic idea of the nature of art“, says Ješa Denegri, “we should intercede for the fact that all design languages and operational procedures, both classical and contemporary, are legitimate, full and equal. In the area of printmaking this means that it is not crucial whether a certain graphic was done in the familiar and proved or in recently used procedures. What matters is how good art creation was made in them.“²
Today we can say that all the given procedures are fully accepted as legitimate and equal. Artists have full freedom that in accordance with their own aesthetical views choose their approach to medium.
Even though it should not be more important that the idea and artistic purpose, the choice of procedure and technique of the work has an important place in the printmaking media. Since printmaking artists like to explore not only the creation concepts but the characteristics of the media, process and technique they determine.
“Technique is the artist`s means of expression, without which they would be silent, completely incapable of expressing themselves“, as the famous Austrian Art historian Walter Koschatzky says. “Primarily, we must take into consideration the fact that artists who express themselves in the printmaking media take the first step in the art process firstly with the choice of methods, and then with techniques they will use.”³
The choice of procedure mainly affects further development of the work. Throughout the work on matrix and imprint, artists closely bond to the process, so the choice of the realization process included into the conceptual framework and it becomes an important part of author`s art language.
Thanks to flexibility and openness for different approaches, printmaking has shown vitality and in today`s exhibitions, we can see a wide spectrum of different aesthetical attitudes and approaches of printmaking art. Even though last decades have been dynamic, it is hard to think that a vital printmaking tradition, the artistic form originating from the Renaissance and still actual today, will be lost. Аs long as there are artists who recognize exciting field of creation in this art form and who practically prove that individual exploration is unfailing space, we can be sure that printmaking has its future. This proves the fact that many young artists find their expression means in printmaking.


     


Communication role of printmaking and visual arts finds itself in a challenging position, since we have been witnesses of constant bombing and sharing images, videos and news on the screens. Photographs, images which can be shared with the big auditorium in a minute, have affected people`s everyday lives and habits, change of the way of work, communication and the perception. Social networks are not just a promotion tool but also a social medium by itself . We will see how much all of this will affect our future art work experience as well as the relation of beholders and art work.
We are witnesses that COVID -19 pandemic not only has closed museums and galleries, but also have changed the way of life. In a short period of time we found ourselves in the reality where there are no museums, galleries, exhibitions and visits of artists` studios.
Like any other sector, art had to become digital, too. The efforts of museums and galleries are visible in the in showing of virtual exhibitions, as well as public and private collections over different platforms and social webs. During previous moths, in the period of COVID crisis, as an artist I have participated in several exhibitions which were not shown in galleries but virtually (over web site or electronic catalogues). I have participated in several exhibitions which took place in galleries and museums, but without any usual opening ceremony and with limited number of visitors. Although reproductions cannot make art truly available, it is fully understandable that it is a necessity in given circumstances and also one of the ways to keep up with artistic activity. We have also seen the other ways for the realization of exhibitions, but this situation confirms how much art piece, its setting in spatial environment and interaction with audieence are important for the art piece experience. To be able to perceive my art piece outside the studio, means a lot to me as an author. Speaking out of my own experience, I miss that experience of art piece in exhibition area, communication with audience, colleagues and I can hardly wait to come back to old times, if we ever do.

International exhibitions such as biennale, triennial and festivals dedicated to printmaking art are the best spot to see actualities in the field of modern printmaking.
Thanks to great effort and enthusiasm of the organizers, international printmaking exhibitions take place in Serbia (Printmaking Triennial in Belgrade, International Printmaking Biennale “Dry point“ in Užice, International Printmaking Biennale in Čačak, International Student Printmaking Biennale) by which we get information about the latest advents and different tendencies in the medium of printmaking. In the field of printmaking there is a long tradition in taking place and organizing international contests, exhibitions. There is the need for making a connection and exchange. Printmaking artists nurture the feeling of togetherness which comes out of the tradition of joint work in printmaking studios where they were taught, collaborated and exchanged knowledge leaving personal stamp from the milieu they had come from.
It is important to point out that these exhibitions and meetings support authors to create and nurture printmaking, over which they communicate with other authors and audience all around the world and in that way they spread and promote printmaking.

Jelena Sredanović


1. Dragan Momirov, ”Raslojavanjem grafičke slike do prostornog likovnog objekta (By imprint delayering to spatial art object)”, Doktorski umetnički projekat, Beograd: Fakultet likovnih umetnosti, 2014.
2. Ješa Denegri, „Grafika u savremenim civilizacijskim kulturnim i umetničkim prilikama (Printmaking in modern civilizational, cultural and artistic opportunities)“ (Grafika na ivici - Grafika i njena granična područja u 21. veku, Beograd: Galerija Grafički kolektiv, 2009).
3. Teržan, Vesna, Arven Š. Kralj, Maja Visenjak-Limon, David Limon, Nada Colnar, Karla Železnik, and Tihomir Pinter. Mnemosyne: The Time of Ljubljana's Biennial of Graphic Arts. Ljubljana: Mednarodni grafični likovni center, 2010.




Jelena Sredanović (1982, Novi Sad, Serbia), graduated in 2005 at the Academy of Art, Novi Sad, class of professor Zoran Todović, post-graduate studies, 2009, with the same professor. Doctoral studies at the Faculty on Fine Arts, Belgrade, 2016, professor Biljana Vuković. She exhibited at many group and solo exhibitions, nationally and internationally (Novi Sad, Beograd, Niš, Ljubljana, Beč, Bilbao, Madrid, Njujork, Peking, Jerevan, Rim, Temišvar...). She received many awards: Honorary mention at First Biennial of graphic art, Jerevan (2017), First award at the International Triennial of graphic art, Belgrade (2017), Big Seal, Grafički kolektiv (2010), Second award at the International exhibition Award of Valter Košatski, Vienna (2009). Her prints are part of many private and public collections, and her work has been included in the Albertina Collection in Vienna. She is a professor at the Academy of the Art, Novi Sad, for graphic arts. Memeber of the Association of the Fine Art Artists of Vojvodina.

jelenasredanovic@yahoo.com



 

 

 
 
 
 
   
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