Editor's note: On November 15, 2021, the International Printmaking Institute at Central Academy of Fine Arts held a lecture called “30 Years of Development and Strategies in Digital Printmaking in Western Countries”, the fifth lecture in the "Technology and Printmaking" series. Professor Zhou Jirong, the first deputy dean of the International Printmaking Institute at Central Academy of Fine Arts, hosted the lecture. Ms. Alicia Candiani, the founder of the Contemporary Art Foundation from Argentina, was the guest speaker.
In the lecture, Ms. Alicia Candiani reviewed the history of digital printmaking in western countries in the past 30 years from 1991 to 2021, and talked about how digital printmaking had integrated with traditional western printmaking and other media in the past few decades. Her speech could be divided into two parts about the development of digital media and the development of printmaking in the Western world from the 1990s to now.
THE THREE STAGES OF DIGITAL PRINTMAKING
The first part introduced the three stages of digital media and printmaking. In these three stages, the development of printmaking and the development of the digital age complemented each other.
SHAURY KUMAR lives and works in Chicago, USA. This is his "The Lost Museum Series". His artworks focus on lost and destroyed works in history.
CIMA KATZ is an artist from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, the United States and professor of lithograph art. She scans text and images, then uses digital software to process and collage them, and finally prints them.
In the early days, CIMA KATZ used Iris printers to print at a commercial printing store in Des Moines, Edwards.
Alicia Candiani has participated in biennales many times. Her large-scale prints have been exhibited in the Ionian Museum, Prague’s Old Town Hall and the private conservatory garden in Darmstadt, Germany.
JOHN PHILLIPS is a world-renowned artist. He founded a well-known printmaking studio in London 30 years ago. The picture shows one of his artworks, Vantitas.
ANGELA is a British printmaking artist in the early days of the post-digital stage.
PAUL CATANESE is a mixed-media artist from the United States. He blurred the boundaries between fine arts and media arts.
MIGUEL RIVERA is a Mexican printmaking artist. He has done extensive experiments in the field of post-digital printmaking. His artworks present different themes, including Spain’s colonization, immigration, the Age of Exploration, and viruses.
Artist SILVIA COVEY pointed out that the difference between digital artworks and digital art lies in the ways to finish the creation of artworks.
ANALOGITAL POST-PANDEMIC STAGE
The epidemic has caused many changes in our lives and even in the world. Alicia Candiani coined a term called "ANALOGITAL", which refers to the third stage.
In this artwork, three artists reveal the changes after the digital transformation. They do not mean to discuss the objection to the digital transformation in the future, but to think about how to overcome the possible digital pollution in the future.
Another project involves three artists working in different environments. The first one is on a concrete downtown road. The second one is on the snow in the mountains. The last one is on the sand by the sea.
By creating such an artwork, we can make full use of digitization and the Internet to better expand the space of human existence and find more ways to interact with the public in this very special epidemic period. This new analog-digital phenomenon will lead us to think in a different way and to explore and practice art and theories beyond analog and digital technologies.
This is an installation artwork by a Finnish artist, ANNU VERTANEN, who showed woodcut in a digital way.
TOMAS LIBERTINY is an artist from Rotterdam. This artwork is called Paper Vase. It combines traditional printmaking techniques with digital media and 3D imaging.
JUANA GOMES, an artist from Chile, superimposes shapes of organic creatures on elements from nature for artistic work.
This is an artwork created by an Argentine artist, CECILIA, who used the CNC technology during the epidemic to produce the work.
Liang Wanyi is a young Chinese artist. She uses laser engraving for artistic creation.
This very beautiful work is a large installation artwork with different colors.
TRACY, a Canadian artist, first printed digitally on Japanese paper and then etched it to create her artworks.
PEARLMAN, an artist from New York, used laser engraving to make the work in the picture below.
Since 2006, Alicia Candiani has cooperated with institutions around the world and completed international portrait projects.
At the end of the lecture, Alicia Candiani mentioned that we didn’t have to worry about technological changes. In her opinion, technology is just a way of expression for us. Instead, what we need to care about is what we want to express as an artist.
Question One: Are digital prints sold as digital files or physical objects? How do you deal with issues about artists' signatures and serial numbers?
Alicia Candiani: For artists, they need to see what they want. Both can be sold. If a digital print is sold as a physical object, the signature and the number can be still handled as usual. If it is sold as a digital file, the issue needs to be discussed again.
Question Two: Since there are digital prints, are there any concepts about digital oil paintings or digital sculptures abroad?
Alicia Candiani: There are some 3D printed sculptures abroad, but I don't think there will be digital oil paintings.
Question Three: What is the essential difference between digital printmaking and photography? How is digital printmaking defined?
Alicia Candiani: In the 21st century, the boundaries between disciplines have blurred, and different disciplines have intertwined with each other. Photography is a very important part of contemporary art. In the past, people did not know whether it should be regarded as art. However, we use photography to construct the images we need. The perspective of painting is actually different from photography. The main premise is original digital prints. In fact, digital prints refer to the integration of elements from different media, including photography and painting. Digital media and digital prints are not simple reproductions or substitutes, but completely new works that require artists to create and mix again.
Question Four: Are the value of digital prints and the value of traditional paper prints measured in different ways? Is there any difference between the pricing for digital prints and the pricing for physical prints by the same author?
Alicia Candiani: If you want to measure the value of an artwork, you need to consider the level of craftsmanship. Under different conditions, pricing is different. The number of sold works is different, so market conditions are also different.
Question Five: Will digital printmaking become a major method of printmaking in the future.
Alicia Candiani: Digital printing can be seen in many contemporary art forms in the Western world. It appears more frequently than traditional methods. This phenomenon does not mean that digital prints will completely replace traditional prints. I believe they will form a kind of symbiosis in the future.