PHILADELPHIA, PA.- The printed image lies at the heart of the work of many contemporary artists, but just as printed materials have become ubiquitous in visual culture, passing nearly unnoticed, so too have print processes become an integral part of art-making without always being acknowledged. The central role of the printed image in contemporary art is the focus of the international festival, PHILAGRAFIKA 2010, to be held throughout the city of Philadelphia January 29-April 11, 2010, with over 300 artists participating in exhibitions and programs at more than 80 cultural institutions. The core exhibition of the festival, The Graphic Unconscious, will be shown across five venues, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Museum will present installations by the Japanese artist Tabaimo (b. 1975) and the Colombian artist Óscar Muñoz (b. 1951) that explore the translation of printmaking into other mediums and expand its conceptual boundaries.
As mixing mediums has become common practice, artists have increasingly utilized characteristics inherent to the print to achieve their aesthetic and expressive goals, Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings, Shelley R. Langdale explained. This engagement with the print is very much at work in the Museums installations. Óscar Muñozs inventive applications of printmaking techniques create unstable images that explore the relationship between image and memory, while Tabaimo blends stylistic elements of traditional Japanese woodcuts with more contemporary visual references in video projects that address the complexities of cultural identity and social interaction.
Widely regarded as one of the premiere video installation artists working in Japan, Tabaimo often portrays communal places such as public restrooms, commuter trains, apartment buildings, and bathhousessettings where anonymity and intimacy collide and the orderly surface of Japanese society is disrupted. Seemingly mundane tasks and events often take absurd, comical, and occasionally grotesque twists in Tabaimos work. Her installation dolefullhouse (2007) will make its U.S. debut in the Museums Stieglitz gallery. Drawing on the aesthetics of traditional Japanese woodcuts as well as the frequently violent narratives of Japanese comics (manga) and animation (anime), Tabaimos video projections (often life-size or larger) are installed in well-defined spaces or stage-like settings in which they directly confront, envelop, or otherwise encompass the viewer. Tabaimo made her debut at the age of 24 when her university graduation project, a video, won the Kirin Contemporary Award Grand Prize in 1999. Since then she has participated in numerous exhibitions in Japan and Europe, including the Yokohama Triennale (2001) and the Venice Biennale (2007).
Óscar Muñoz, considered one of the most important visual artists working in Colombia today, blurs the boundaries between photography, printmaking, drawing, installation, video and sculpture. He also draws on the particular circumstances of his native country to address the universal themes of loss and remembrance. Using innovative processes such as screenprinted charcoal portraits on water he creates images that explore the ephemeral nature of existence, memory, and history. Muñoz will present two installation projects in the Museums Berman Gallery. Narcisos en proceso (Narcissi in process) (1994-ongoing) is a set of screenprinted charcoal self-portraits on water, while the video installation Biografias (Biographies) (2002) presents a haunting suite of portraits taken from newspaper obituaries.
The artists career spans three decades and includes solo exhibitions and group shows around the world, including biennials in Cuba (1997), Prague (2005), Cuenca (2004), and Venice (2007).