Dienstag, 6. Februar 2007

Lino cutting and other printing

Since being in Berlin, I can't stop cutting lino (and my hands with it). I cut 2 months of a calendar (January and September) on 40cmx40cm pieces of lino with 7 other illustrators here. We printed it this fantastic print house called Bethanian. Artisits can go and print for the day or do 6 months apprenticing, there are lots of options. Anyway we printed 120 of these calendars, to have a look go to www.hammeraue.de. There was lot of exciting work going on here. All sorts of printing from off set to etching. So it is great to see that traditional printing processes are still around, as thet are slowly dying out.
There are not just print workshops at Bethanian but sculpture and video etc etc. A big art house really in Kreuzberg. It used to be a hospital many years ago.

Lino cutting seems to be having a bit of a come back. I have come across quite a few people here who use this in their work, ie Henning Wagenbreth they uses this very traditional medium but the yet it still looks contemporary. Look on his website to see more. www.wagenbreth.de.
Linocutter to admire is most definitely Edward Bawden. Amazing skill, I never really realised untill I had cut my own. www.woodleapress.co.uk/ images/ebd4.gif one of his most spectacular cuts.
More on this later!

more about die tollen hefte by Mark Nevins

Here is some more information about Die Tollen Helte, the books created by illustrators, written before in emilyhayes64 account.
See this site


“Neue Illustration: The Book and Poster Art of Eleven German Illustrators.” New York, NY:
Deutsches Haus, New York University, 42 Washington Mews, March 1-April 30, 2003.

It’s arguable that the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 has been an even bigger blessing for the
art world than for the political world; while Germany herself continues to struggle with the
economic and cultural challenges of Unification, the bringing together of artists from the
West and the East immediately energized the German arts scene, especially in the areas of
poster art, book design, and comics. In March and April, Deutsches Haus of New York
University hosted a traveling show highlighting some of the best examples of post-Wall
German illustration. Deutsches Haus is NYU’s German-American Cultural Center,
beautifully housed in the Washington Mews -- a row of former coach houses originally
intended for the wealthy mansions of Washington Square which have been restored to their
pristine early 19th Century form in a cobblestone alley in the heart of Greenwich Village. The
group of friends who mounted this show, including curator Armin Abmeier, met head-on the
challenges of putting together an exhibit in a small and almost labyrinthine space. Deutsches
Haus includes an entrance hall, a lecture space, classrooms, and a reading lounge, and all
were used to show off a generous sample of the work of the eleven artists featured in the
Atak, Rotraut Susanne Berner, Wolf Erlbruch, Anke Feuchtenberger, Moritz Götze, Yvonne
Kuschel, Thomas M. Müller, Christoph Niemann, Volker Pfüller, Axel Scheffler, and Hennig
Wagenbreth. Rather than feeling cramped or disjointed, the layout of the show allowed
visitors to experience the artworks as a series of “discoveries.” Many of the pieces are large
posters, almost all of the pieces are vibrantly colorful, and seeing the exhibit in segments,
finding new sections of the show behind this door or in that classroom, increased the level of
delight and also ensured that the viewer would not be overcome with sensory overload.
Furthermore, since several of the artists in the show are actually teachers in university art
programs, and since the show itself aims to teach its audience about a wonderful
contemporary movement in German illustration, this campus setting was quite fitting.
sophisticated materials and printing technology. Some of the most striking and inventive
illustration of the last generation has, in fact, come “from behind the Iron Curtain” -- from the
astonishingly expressive poster and book-cover art of Poland and Czechoslovakia, to the
tremendously inventive comics produced in Eastern Europe by artists who grew up in the
1960s and 1970s with only a fragmentary sense of the popular culture of the West. The
comics produced by some of these illustrators offer useful grounds for understanding their
originality: unlike the American “alternative comics” to which they are sometimes compared,
East Germany’s comics of the 1980s and early 1990s were created in a vacuum far from
superheroes as well as the Underground movement, and whether political or humorous, naive
or sophisticated, these comics have a desperate expressionistic energy rarely found in comics
of the West. Armin Abmeier, the curator of “Neue Illustration,” is a publisher’s sales
representative by day, but his real career is as a voracious book collector and a steadfast
advocate of contemporary German illustration. Abmeier grew up reading comics, but was
later deeply affected by Surrealism and Dadaism -and that influence shows in his taste as both
a collector and a publisher. For more than a dozen years now Abmeier has been publishing a
line of books under the imprint “Die Tollen Hefte” (“Crazy Booklets”), and this line is a
showcase for some of the best of today’s avant-garde illustration, from Germany as well as
elsewhere. (For example, Abmeier has been a tireless supporter of the extremely idiosyncratic
work of the American cartoonist Mark Beyer, who seems to have lost any platform for his
work in his native country but can still be found in print in Abmeier’s books.) Asked about his
concepts and ideas behind this exhibit, Abmeier responded, “It’s quite simple -- I wanted to
show some of my favorite pictures in New York City, because NYC is one of my favorite
places.” While united by a single theme and to some extent by a single publishing house, the
work in this show covers a dazzling range. My favorites are Rotraut Susanne Berner, best
known as a children’s book illustrator, who draws delicate and charming figures engaged in
whimsical activities; Anke Feuchtenberger, whose striking and mesmerizing drawings
(showing influences from modernists like Picasso and Matisse as well as African art) explore
“feminist” themes by means of challenging and compelling comics and posters; and Hennig
Wagenbreth, who creates huge tableaux in what might be called a crazed digital-woodcut
style. I was also delighted to discover the work of a few artists I didn’t know well before this
show, including Thomas Müller, a gifted illustrator who works in super-saturated flat colors
with a slightly “punk” sensibility (think Gary Baseman meets Toulouse-Lautrec) and Axel
Scheffler, who marries a cartoony sensibility to a more traditional children’s book illustration
style (think R.O. Blechman meets Arthur Rackham)
“Neue Illustration” was a clever and delightful exhibit -- one I visited several times during the
two months of the exhibit, as I’m lucky enough to live just a few blocks away. The exhibit
succeeded in showing off the work of its artists, but it also succeeded as an engaging event in
its own right: one that could capture the interest and imagination of any viewer, whatever his
or her knowledge of illustration. (Since the show was up during the end of the school year, I
wonder if it seized the attention of any of the oftendisaffected undergraduates who would
have had to come into Deutsches Haus for end-of-term administrivia.) Several of the largest
pieces were shown on a very tall and bright wall next to an open stairway leading to the
second-floor offices, which allowed the viewer to get close to the pieces but also to stand
back and see them from a distance; another airy part of the space was used to hang mobiles
made out of many of the Tollen Hefte books. In sum, “Neue Illustration” was an exhibit of
wonderful graphic works that also wonderfully occupied its space, and I only wish it had been
able to stay at Deutsches Haus permanently.

by Mark David Nevins

IJOCA (International Journal Of Comic Art), Fall 2003