The 4th IAPA Biennale Symposium Speech Ⅰ Margarita·Gonzalez




Thank you very much. First of all, I would like to say that I am very honored to participate in this event, and I hope that it will help us to further explore the future of printmaking. It is very important for institutes around the world to discuss the future of and challenges faced by printmaking.


Before I talk about tomorrow's printmaking, I think we could talk about challenges and opportunities first, talk about today’s printmaking and its development in the future, which I think could lead to a lot of discussion, because the printmaking industry has witnessed many changes, especially changes in various relationships. This is the core of my speech today. I will talk about several issues, including the importance of printmaking workshops, how workshops can help the artists and how artists can deliver their ideas through different channels and in different contexts. The current situation of printmaking will also be introduced later.


First, I'd like to introduce myself. As Professor Yin said, I am the Director of the Printmaking Department of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid, Spain. I have been teaching painting and other courses since 2007. The PPT of my speech should be available after the meeting, so if you are interested, you can click the link to learn more about me. In fact, in addition to my role as a professor, I also have a company with my husband, which focuses on publishing and holding exhibitions, and we’ve been cooperating with many artists for years. If you are interested, you can also click the link below to learn more about our publishing and exhibition works.



As you can see, this is our workshop and where we work. I think the contact between artists is very important, because it helps to stimulate the spread of images. I believe that printmaking is a physical space with printing technology in it. Therefore, it is not just a technology or a random guess in our mind; instead, we should create it with our hands and put it into practice, which I think is very important. Printmaking, as an art form, requires a strong knowledge reserve, which is of great importance for us to learn the physical properties of different processes and materials. It is the core of printmaking. It also shows that in this process, we need to experience more to improve our skills. The reason why printmaking is expensive is that it takes a long time to create, and it requires different techniques, a lot of energy, skills and materials for every one of them.


Another thing about printmaking is that it gives artists an opportunity to decipher step by step how they build their images. As a publisher, based on our experience, many of the artists we worked with have very little experience in the past, but with the support of printmakers, they begin to deconstruct their images. Then, with the techniques and skills of printmaking, they will have a better understanding of how to deliver their original artistic language to the outside world and express it in printing. For me, I think this language is very interesting. Because during the creating process of printmaking, with different techniques, the time you spend, the materials you use, and the results you get are completely different. I think this is also a valuable experience for artists.

Moreover, the creation of printmaking or its final result really depends on the amount of time you spend and your skills. Next, I would like to share some works with you. All of the works I present today have different print editions. The artists prefer to have print editions because they want to use the plurality of printmaking to print in different contexts. In this way, all collectors can see their works in different places. The artists believe that it's a good way to communicate, but there's a contradiction in it. For example, exhibition is actually a process of sharing information, because printmaking is digital information. In this process, it gives us a new opportunity. What we are seeing now is a photograph, but it’s not three- dimensional. All the works we present today actually require a very intimate interaction between the viewer and the work, which means that we need to see it in person to fully enjoy it. Sometimes, due to the limitations of their size and material, many details are not visible; also, the color we see on the screen may be different from the actual color of the prints, because the color might be distorted. I think this is a big contradiction or challenge.


Printmaking is believed to be a good way for the communication of artworks, but the advancement of technology has replaced printmaking’s function as a communication tool. Nowadays, a lot of digital images provide people with a great opportunity to explore new works of artists. However, there’s a huge gap in between, which is also something we need to consider; when it comes to printmaking in the future, the contradiction I just mentioned is also a very important issue. Many artists take beautiful photos of their works and upload it to different platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, because they know that the power of these images does not only lie in the prints, but in which platform it is placed and which platform can attract more attention. This is something we must think about in the process of creation, because it is very important; it’s a method or medium for prints to be received and spread. The artists care more about which platform their works are spread on.

Now, I'd like to share some of the works with you. These works are actually very difficult to present through photos. You have to see it in person, otherwise you can only see part of it, instead of the whole work. There’s strong shadow in this work, which we can't see in the photo, but if you see it in person, you will be deeply impressed.



It's the same with this one, which was created by a Brazilian artist. The work shows the distortion of paper, and it is expressed through different techniques of carving and relief. You definitely can't see the distortion in a two-dimensional digital image. Therefore, when we talk about today’s printmaking, it is necessary for us to consider the communication channel.



We need to think about the effect of digital printmaking, and know the fact that what we are doing now or the times we are in is a huge opportunity for many people. For example, people from different countries can create in the same context, and they don't need to coexist in the physical space. In such a new era, when we translate our experiences and exchanges into printmaking works, I will think about how these artists can lay the foundation for future printmaking in the process of creation, or how to create prints in the future. There are so many digital images playing a very important role in the communication of printmaking. What do we think of them? What’s the rationality of printmaking? The rationality, the possibilities we discussed before and how artists use printmaking to deconstruct their own language……. At the same time, it can also be used as a channel for experiment to build their own language system. Printmaking itself is also a pioneering space for many artists, because it enables artists to express themselves freely, and it is so inclusive that it can accommodate different means and tools, even the most advanced technology.



Looking forward to the future generation of artists, I think we should keep reinforcing the concept of printmaking itself as a space, a space of experiment and experience as well as a space where we construct image languages. For me, the meaning of printmaking lies in the thinking, hands-on ability and how it transforms all our experiences into printmaking works, enabling viewers to feel what the artist has experienced. Therefore, it is not only a graphic work, but also contains the experience, time and space behind the creation.



The works I shared with you today are presented in images, but you can only feel its real charm when you see in front of it, and I specifically chose these works to let you see the difference. I think this is also very important, and I hope it will open up possibilities for future discussion. I'm looking forward to listening to the possibilities that experts and colleagues provide for us today, and to sharing our experience together in a workshop like this. Tonight's workshop is also a good place for us to contribute together to the future of IAPA as well as printmaking.



This work was created in Britain by a Spanish artist, who uses photogravure to present his works. There’s a closed loop in it, in which three forms are presented: print, digital image, and then print again.




Thank you very much for listening, and I believe you all have my contact information, so if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I really look forward to having more in-depth discussions with you in the future. Thank you.