Edyta Stajniak - graphic art

15 November 2019 - 12 January 2020


15 November 2019, hour 18:00

On the process

Warped paper, under-inking, over-stamping, mis-alignment, a fingerprint on a print edge, torn format corner, too much or too little paint, sharp or blurred lines, paper tired from excessive printing, laminating, over-inking, excess, indefinite number of combinations and plate alternations constitute an intrinsic element of expression of the creative process – I do not eliminate it, although it is assumed that the purity of a print proves the artist’s craftsmanship and mastery of the skills appropriate for a given technique. I suspect that there is a clash here in the approach to the printmaking technique between the sphere of rules and that of intuition. An imperfect print and often first an imperfect printing plate provide a space for a  fascinating, unexpected creative process. They allow to achieve an effect which constantly induces questions about the next step and further direction to be heading towards. It induces to make another layer of print, in a different way.

Where is the beginning and the end of a creative process in printmaking if the plate can be subjected to multiple transformations, etching or effacing?

How much random chance is allowed in printmaking? Which tool does it allow? How much painting does it contain in itself? What new techniques of artistic printmaking are waiting to be yet discovered? Is it true that the essence of printmaking lies in its repeatability?

Is a sketch the first? The first is chaos of structures and matter. A feeling, an emotion, a trace, a gesture, a movement, thickness, the depth of blackness or its paleness (if one can speak of paleness in the case of blackness), a random stain, line, the sharpness of a tool, the texture of the surface, its smoothness, touch. Plates are made from cardboard paper, papers, varnishes, fabrics, different bases, plastics and finally sheet metal drawn on using some handy tools. What is important in the creative process is combining classical and searching for one’s own graphic techniques – searching for one’s trace of a tool and the power of expression. Usually intaglio plates are made, some are durable, some are frail and delicate and they are not able to survive the pressure of the etching press on the third print.

An alternation of their multiple printing results in obtaining unique prints in a limited edition. For me, working on the plate is a vehicle for emotions, an expression of the creative process and, most of all, simply experimenting with the matter. Grooves, thick furrows of lines, protruding, extensive stains constitute the drawing of the plate which is oftentimes subjected to big pressure by the press and to multiple over-stamping.

Everything is subject to changes: themes, areas, tones or colour schemes but my need for texture, for the matter perceptible under my finger remains unchanged, undeniable. None of the graphic works is a print made from one plate. The alternation of plates constitutes the final graphic print. The play between reduction and an excess still provides the ground for looking for a balance, for finding the final image. The final one – only stopped in the process.

A thought appears in the process, the visible world enters it perceived through an intensity of emotions and it gives rise to an analysis, intertwined with an intuitive handling of plates and proofs. One encounters something that determines the direction for free, unhindered experimentation with the matter. A mere thought, a sentence, a person, an account, literature, an incident, something that intuitively persists and remains beyond time, something important. “Everything that is essential in art happens between people” – so an important moment in the creative act is the moment of an incident constituting a turning point – “in thinking” and “in feeling”; observing the world, analysing steps. The long-term nature and intensity of the process often entices one to explore one theme safely or dangerously. It is fascinating and unbearable at the same time. Undoubtedly, a human back, torso or figure have become a theme of numerous graphic works, a motif of a man sitting side-facing, back-facing, with his back turned on, standing just before the end or just “before the beginning.” The motif of the body and mind, of logic and intuition opens up to formal juxtaposing of contrasts and searching for contexts.

The theme of a duality of the inner and outer self has become dominant for a long time. It still inspires, opens one up to a synergy of various areas of art; it is always accompanied by literature containing strong emotions which encourages one to try new approaches and search for how to counterbalance current excess with disappearance, stillness towards “just”, towards “pale, gray, almost white” …

Edyta Stajniak