The Origin of Print Art
Examining the entries for the Mini-Print Triennial, which is a second-time experience for me, I often thought that the origin of print art is recognized exactly in the fact that you can see a print closely in your hand, thanks to its smallness. Now, I remember participating in the international-scale ymposium “ISPA japan” as a panelist to summarize the arguments, held for three days at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music at the end of 2004. I exposed myself to various reports on current situations of print art or proposals for it, etc., and got bored with the atmosphere of “a sense of crisis” flowing like a thorough bass. For me, who went through the experience, the mini-prints in great numbers, deep inside in the microcosm without any loud voice, were nothing else but a healing.
Such kind of a sense of crisis around contemporary print art is nothing
new. Someone necessarily talks about it half neurotically -- as if to
do so is the only evidence of intelligence -- when “new expressive
media of art” make their appearance. If talking about such a crisis
of print art as an expressive medium, the same is true of other media
like painting and sculpture. Actually, if doing so about print art,
we rather should first argue about the crisis of the whole field of
art. I do not mean that exchanging opinions about the general situation
of print art at public opportunities is not significant. But, however
often we may repeat arguments, or sometimes, may use the argumental
logic such as “deus ex machina,” the proposition “what
print art is” is only a matter of each maker and viewer. We should
look more straight at this unquestionable fact.
Print art means to me everything generated by transferring or compressing an image (or, the original plate). The transference or compression has something to do with both the meaning and material of print art, forming the basic for its microcosmic nature. In this connection, the grand-prix piece by Slovakian artist Katarina VAVROVA impressed me with just a compression containing a profound meaning related to a complicated and inscrutable region with somehow an Eastern history; the vision of the semi grand-prix piece by SANPEI Mitsuo, with special attention to a black monochrome, stood out with its powerful presence of the very material.
Speaking of the presence of material, the example by YAMASHITA Mamiko (jury award), just as if transferring and compressing the jet-black, endlessly complicated “time,” caught our eyes with its solid mati*re. But, what is more refreshing to me in this work was its stubborn attitude, never fawning on viewers. I wonder that the same can be true of TAKINO Hisako's somewhat humorous example (jury award), exploring her artistic path with an unconcerned attitude. These examples press us to recognize again that print art is first a microcosm with the maker placed in its core (let us remember rooms of print art at major museums of art). And, I think at least that the task submitted to us is the most significant achievement of the Mini-Print Triennials.