Renowned artists and printmakers Christiane Baumgartner and Kiki Smith are scheduled to appear at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
(PAFA) as part of Philagrafika 2010, the international festival that celebrates the role of print as a vital force in contemporary art.
The core exhibition of Philagrafika 2010 is the five-venue project The Graphic Unconscious, simultaneously shown at PAFA (January 29 - April 11, 2010), The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Galleries at Moore College of Art & Design, the Temple Gallery at Tyler School of Art, and The Print Center. Presenting 35 internationally renowned artists and artist groups from 18 countries, The Graphic Unconscious explores the ubiquitous presence of printed matter in our visual culture and how concepts like accessibility, democratization, dissemination, and transience inform diverse contemporary art practices while expanding the realm of printmaking itself.
The programs featuring Baumgartner and Smith, whose work is currently on view at PAFA are as follows:
Time, Motion, Space: An Illustrated Talk with Artist Christiane Baumgartner
March 24th, 6 -7 p.m.
Using a sharp knife and enormous blocks of wood, renowned German artist Christiane Baumgartner spends weeks, months, sometimes even a year, translating images from her own film and video cameras into astonishing woodblock prints. The works on view in Philagrafika continue her investigation into the elasticity of time and the ambiguity of landscape, and she will explore these and other themes in a talk illustrated by earlier work in silkscreen and video.
Seating is limited, pre-registration is required. Admission is free for those with PAFA or Southern Graphics Council membership cards; free after museum admission for the public.
In Conversation: Kiki Smith and the Curators of Philagrafika
March 30th, 6-7 p.m.
Carefully manipulating fragile sheets of Nepalese paper sparkling with silver leaf and mica, Kiki Smith installed two walls of PAFA's gallery with an array of small and large-scale works, building a frieze at once intimate and also universal. In conversation with José Roca, Philagrafika's Chief Curator and Artistic Director, and Julien Robson, Curator of Contemporary Art at PAFA, Smith discusses the major themes in her work and an ongoing interest in printmaking techniques and processes, about which she says that "Prints mimic what we are as humans: we are all the same and yet every one is different. I think there's a spiritual power in repetition, a devotional quality, like saying rosaries."
At PAFA, The Graphic Unconscious presents seven artists from three continents. Addressing the traditions of PAFA as both a teaching institution and a museum, the works of these artists take conventionally recognized mediums and revolutionize them in new forms. Working with woodcuts, Christiane Baumgartner (Germany) and Orit Hofshi (Israel) realize the potential of this medium on an immense scale, while the artists collective Tromarama (Indonesia) turns each cut of the wooden panel into the frame of a stop-motion animation that is accompanied by the music of a rock band from Jakarta. Recipients of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowhip, Mark Bradford (USA) collages together found posters and then sands this surface to excavate other forms of information hidden underneath, while Pepón Osorio (USA) prints an image onto a bed of confetti, turning print into three-dimensional sculpture. Kiki Smith (USA) presents a new version of her signature composite prints on hand made paper in a large-scale poetically diaphanous work, while Qiu Zhijie (China) carves traditional Chinese calligraphy from concrete blocks that, after being printed, stand as sculptures in their own right alongside the wall hung images.