The Mechanical Hand: artists’ prints

Artists like Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and the Chapman Brothers are more associated with their very three-dimensional personae and shock value, rather than their printed works.

Jake Chapman
Jake Chapman

A new book from Black Dog Publishing enitled The Mechanical Hand showcases the printed works of these and other artists including Matt Collishaw, Bob and Roberta Smith, Rachel Whiteread, Paula Rego, Charles Avery, Chris Ofili, Grayson Perry, Hughie O’Donoghue, Keith Coventry, Glenn Brown, and  Cornelia Parker that have been made with Paupers Press over the last 25 years.

Damien Hirst

Edited by printmaker and Paupers Press director Michael Taylor, the book’s launch is accompanied by an exhibition at King’s Place in London.

Charles Avery
Charles Avery

As well as a wealth of stunning images, the book also features essays and interviews from contributors including Cornelia Parker, Glenn Brown, Paula Rego, Christopher le Brun and Grayson Perry.

Dinos Chapman
Dinos Chapman

The text often casts a rather academic – and at times, poetic, view over the idea of printmaking – referring to the practice of creating a series of prints as ‘an ongoing visual dialogue with [the copy’s] own past, each variant becoming a memento of itself.’

Glenn Brown
Glenn Brown

The book quotes Claes Oldenburg as saying, ‘You could say making a print is like preparing a pizza. You start with a white sheet of paper – that is, the ‘dough’ – to which you add layers of images : cheese, mushrooms, sausage bits, tomato paste, immersed in overprinted inks.

‘In the end, the pizza is ‘editioned’ – that is, sliced and distributed for consumption.’

Paula Rego
Paula Rego

Artists’ quotations serve to further strengthen this theoretical look at the nature of printing – sculptor Tania Kovats calls printmaking a ‘depositary for thought, speculation, observation and projection’; while for the Chapman Brothers, the medium is symbol of being ‘schizoid and incoherent. ‘I’m really interested in disappointment,’ says Dinos Chapman.

‘If you embrace failure and disaster as part of your working process, there’s nothing that fails.’

The Mechanical Hand: Artists’ Projects at Paupers Press is published by Black Dog Publishing priced £29.95. The exhibition runs from 27 April – 22 June at Kings Place Gallery, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1

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