2019 hat Jan Svenungsson “Making Prints and Thinking About It” publiziert. Das reichlich illustrierte Buch (in Englische Sprache) analysiert die Rolle der Druckgrafik in der zeitgenössischen Kunst und präsentiert das gesamte druckgrafische Werk des Künstlers, in Text und Bild.
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Hier unten drei Zitate aus dem Buch:
Zitat 1 (Seite 10-11)
Analog printmaking encourages an intellectual approach to the making of an image, because of the limitations of the technology used. To make a print, the desired image must be broken down in a way that makes it possible to realize it in a series of steps. These function and interact differently depending upon which of the many printing techniques you have chosen to work with. Hence you must devise a plan. The realization of this plan, however, is almost always fraught with accidents, which necessitate quick decision making in order to correct or harvest what technological mishap has wrought. In my experience, the things that did not work according to plan are often what yield the value of the final image.
Typically there is a huge difference between the way the matrix (stone, plate, block etc.) you are working on looks while you are preparing your print and the intended appearance of the finished product. For many artists, this distancing effect is both attractive and stimulating. When you work on an etching, you are scratching lines with a needle in dark varnish covering a copper plate, each line shimmering against the surrounding darkness. When the plate has been etched, inked and printed, the lines will appear reversed, dark on the white paper. You may be splashing black ink on a lithographic stone, imagining how these stains will combine with the black stains on another, when printed in a turquoise blue on top of the other stone‘s stains, which will be yellow. Each stage of the work process leading up to the finished print demands not only planning, but imagination and speculation. The result cannot be judged until the process has been carried out to its end. Hence the making of a print is a challenge for hand, eye and intellect.
Zitat 2 (Seite 14-15)
Print continues to be an information technology in the digital era, but it is perhaps better, for my purpose here, to call it an imagination technology. Artists today create interfaces between different systems of visual making, exploring the ramifications of opposing forms of technical input and using the myriad possibilities to develop new art, new ideas and new discourse.
Does it matter at all for a work’s significance what technology has been used to produce it? Does it matter at all for an artist’s significance what technology he/she chooses to work with? Obviously technology plays an important role – depending on how well it functions as a catalyst and interface for the artist‘s ideas and desire for expression. All the same, technology itself has no inherent artistic value. It is the artist‘s relation to it which creates its value in the art context.
The way our university works, I have a great deal of freedom in choosing how to organize teaching in the department I head. There is a curriculum to follow, but it leaves considerable leeway for supporting the main goal of an artist’s education as I see it: developing a personal approach and attitude. An additional goal for me is to communicate to students that advancing this personal “Position” doesn’t stand in any conflict with working together with one another, establishing friendships with colleagues and generally having fun together. An artist without friends can be terribly lonely.
In German art jargon one often comes across the word I just used: Position. The word’s underlying German usage is equivalent to its English usage opinion or point of view, but in the art context it has come to designate a piece of imaginary real estate claimed – and then defended – by the artist. In the archetypical German village, each little garden is fenced in. In Sweden garden fences are less common, and we even have a law called Allemansrätten (Freedom to Roam). So far I haven’t been around enough in the Austrian countryside to be able to to gauge the differences between the two German-speaking countries in this respect. In any case, I have always found the idea of territorial art hugely problematic. Isn’t the very idea of being an artist about the ability to roam free and follow your intuitions and ideas wherever they may lead you? Still, at some point even I started to use the term Position as shorthand for what is so hard to describe in clear words: that immaterial intellectual/ideological/aesthetic/poetic capital built up over time by an artist, and that artist’s claim of ownership.
During the students’ first two semesters, my core ambition is to help them function well as a group and interact. Get rid of fences. I endeavor to show that if you want to get anywhere as a young artist, you need to be able to enjoy working together with others and be curious about what others are doing.
The new students form what I call the “Startgruppe”, and we meet regularly over the course of the first year, working on different tasks which I come up with and distribute. Around the middle of the second semester, I steer the group toward deciding for themselves on a larger project to be developed in a collective process. I now strive to minimize my role. In the spring of 2013 this group project became a collective artists’ book named spätestens bis Hercules!, which contained seven prints from each of the seven students, organized in chapters with striking titles. The last chapter was mine alone, and it consisted of this etching. Henriette Leinfellner, who together with Veronika Steiner runs the intaglio workshop, helped me set it up. The small edition was printed for me by an older student: Jeremias Altmann.