International conference: Password: Printmaking

07. 03. 2014

Printmaking has a distinct and decisive history in the world of art. Since the Renaissance, prints have enabled artists to disseminate their ideas and works throughout the world, since the capacity of printing to produce multiplied images, established a communication with a wider circle of people.

Our understanding of contemporary printmaking as a production of art is generally constantly being tested, since the boundaries of art are being merged, crossed, blurred and erased in front of our eyes. The history of contemporary printmaking is quite exciting, as it is not long ago that it was considered by artists, theorists and most notably the art market, to be an alchemical discipline reserved for only a select few. Such treatment, linked to the historical origin of printmaking, its relation to traditional printmaking techniques and mastery, was legitimate up till about the 1960s, when it was put into question by the appearance of pop art and the introduction of screen-printing in the production of the graphic arts. This is when the theoretical question arose as to what actually constitutes contemporary graphic art. This issue is still alive today and is constantly being raised and re-questioned by all of us involved with contemporary printmaking. This question is actually even more vibrant today, since traditional printmaking techniques are being replaced by new creative approaches, and as the boundaries of perception and understanding of the world in the last fifty years have drastically changed in response to digital technology.

The traditional concept of printmaking, as we have already established, lost its relevance when talking about contemporary graphic art production a long time ago. Artists too are constantly inquiring about, not only the concepts of artistic creation, but also the characteristics of the techniques, mediums, processes and relations within the contemporary graphic arts. With the flood of the digital in contemporary art production, however, we are seeing a growing tendency towards a return to the original principles and processes of the printmaking medium. International exhibitions such as biennials, triennials and various festivals devoted to the graphic arts are, much more so than fairs, the best place to evaluate the state and pulse within the field of contemporary printmaking, whilst also being a good opportunity for theoretical discourse on art.

The fact remains that printmaking is a medium that, bound to a time-consuming process and insight of a breadth of mechanical and chemical knowledge and skills, co-exists in contemporary artistic expression. It may not be the centre of attention, it may even be a kind of “endangered species” excluded from most of the major events within contemporary art, but does this mean that its art is not alive and has no power to influence how we see things and think about them, which is the essence of art?

Questions about the vitality of contemporary printmaking, its power, actuality, its boundaries and, ultimately, its manifestations, are constantly present, which indicates that contemporary printmaking is a living part of the art system, since there is a need for its continuous review and evaluation, as well as finding ways of raising its value in all segments of the art world.

The conference, which is an integral part of the European project Password: Printmaking, Travelling Exhibition and Art Residencies (2012–2014) aims to highlight the various theoretical and practical perspectives on some eternally topical issues related to our understanding of printmaking and printed art in the changing environment of contemporary art production in general.


International Conference: Password: Printmaking

Date: 7 March 2014

Where? Auditorium of the Museum of Modern Art (Moderna galerija), Ljubljana

Organiser: International Centre of Graphic Arts (MGLC), Breda Škrjanec, Museum Counsellor of MGLC

The conference will be held in English.


8.15 – 9.00
Registration, morning coffee

9.00 – 9.35

Nevenka Šivavec, Director of MGLC

Introductory speech and presentation of the programme

Breda Škrjanec, Museum Counsellor of MGLC

Keynote address

Luis Camnitzer, Artist

9.35 – 10.35
The role of printmaking in contemporary art practice

Paul Coldwell: The Role of Print within Contemporary Art Practice

Marta Ana Raczek Karcz: What does digital print really mean according to digital media art theory

Javier Martín-Jiménez: Power of the Image: Multiplicity in Spanish Emerging Art

10.35 – 11.00

11.00 – 12.00
Exploring the boundaries of the graphic arts and the graphic

Thomas Killpper : Printing on the move, movable printing projects and printshops

Carlos Bayod Lucini: The Print as an Object

Michael Schneider: The Challenges of Printmedia

12.00 – 12.15
Short break

12.15 – 13.00
Discussion and comments, moderated by Paul Coldwell

13.00 – 15.00
Time for lunch

15.00 – 17.00
The history and future of international graphic arts exhibitions (biennials, triennials, festivals)

Anthony Gardner: Reworldings: “World Art Exhibitions” in an Age of Three Worlds"

Deborah Cullen: In the Contact Zone: Collaborative Persistence in Traditional and New Media Graphics

Eha Komisarov: Illiteracy after Literacy

Nevenka Šivavec: Biennial of Graphic Arts Ljubljana − Hegemony of the Media

17.00 – 17.15

17.15 – 18.00
Discussion and comments, moderated by Anthony Gardner

End of Conference


Admission free


The project has been funded with the support of the European Commission.