“From Tradition to Transition: Aspects and technologies in printmaking from the past to present day” is the title of an international visual art conference on the art of printmaking, scheduled to take place between November 22 and 24, 2017. The conference is organized and curated jointly by the Cypriot Printmakers Association and the Greek Printmakers Association.
The #1CY-GR International Printmaking Conference aspires to become established as a permanent institution. Its intention is to showcase the development of printmaking over time in both the Greek and international area, as well as to promote the contemporary artistic and educational role of printmaking as a means of creative expression. At the same time, the institution endeavours to encourage scientific research on the history of printmaking but also on contemporary visual arts trends and the way printmaking relates to them. Finally, it seeks to use educational activities to involve the community and the venue that will host the conference. The presentation of this first conference in the newly founded, impressive venue of the Leventis Gallery will largely promote the conference’s scientific aims and underline, in parallel with awareness events for children and adults, its educational character.
From the moment of its birth to the present day, the art of printmaking has kept its traditional values whilst at the same time developing printing techniques and incorporating new technologies (digital or environmentally friendly) but also methods of displaying prints in the exhibition area (museums, public and commercial venues). From Albrecht Dürer’s prints to Banksy’s stencils and from engraving with gravers to digital “engraving” on a PC, centuries have passed, marked by the discovery of printing, then the industrial revolution and today’s rapid technological evolution. These significant events have not altered the traditional values and codes of ethics pertaining to printmaking. Nevertheless, questions and concerns are oftentimes still raised – even today – about what makes an authentic print a work of art and what doesn’t, and which is the place printmaking holds in the ever-changing framework of contemporary visual art production.
Furthermore, our times nurture constant inventiveness in the “alchemy” of printmaking, encouraged by the use of alternative and ecological materials. Such techniques are promptly combined with contemporary technological means, delivering truly innovative results on a creative and printmaking level – and not necessarily on paper.
The different aspects of printmaking have also known great changes from the past to nowadays. Museums, for instance, are now aware of the proper measures of protection required for the display of a print, and make sure they are in place. We can see young creators breaking away from standardized wooden frames, small dimensions, paper or other traditional materials, rendering instead printmaking results of monumental dimensions using transient or petty materials. At the same time we can see prints embracing public spaces, becoming natural extensions of the surrounding area.