Material Immaterial

An Experimental Publication Project with

Joshua Bilton
Hannah Hughes
Eugenia Ivanissevich
Tom Lovelace
Bärbel Praun

1. First Experiments
2. Material Immaterial Test Books at Cosmos Arles
3. Material Immaterial Test Books at Offprint Paris
4. Material Immaterial and ‘The State of Things’

Materiality and immateriality lie at the heart of the original idea behind photography; how to translate the three-dimensional world of material objects into a two-dimensional image purely through the agency of optics and chemistry.

The material is also ingrained in photography as a craft. In this sense the inception of photography is also the start of a convoluted history of processes and methods: a history of materials, surfaces, substances and secret recipes. These two parallel strands – the photographic image as a representation of an object, and the photographic image as object itself, have been at the centre of my fascination with the medium.

But it is perhaps the appropriation of photography by printmaking that really opened a new horizon for experimentation. I wanted to bring artists back to think about the photographic print as object, especially when working with images of objects. This publication is intended as a visual conversation between five artists, around the topic of the material and immaterial.

1. First Experiments

The conversation started with a meeting, preceded by the following note:

“I’ve been keeping an eye out for artists working on the boundaries of photography and sculpture, questioning how these two universes intersect. I am really interested on how photography transforms the three-dimensional world into a flat world of ‘immaterial’ images, and how your artistic practices take these images back into the realm of the material.

And then there’s books and printmaking. I think the photographic image has become trapped in the x4 ink cmyk litho process, leaving a really interesting world aside. I think there are printmaking processes that are more akin to sculpture -such as etching and screen-print- as the different layers and transparencies demand one to think about a three-dimensional space instead of a flat halftone grid. I researched a lot over the last year, looking for a process that could bring the ease of printing of lithography with the potential for experimentation you would get from screen prints.

I have been looking into Risography, a process that works on the same principle of screen-prints. I am very excited with the quality and creative possibilities of this process and want to get a group of artists together to come into a workshop to develop an experimental publication. Sian Bonnell from Manchester Metropolitan University has kindly offered us to use their Risography printshop to come and experiment with a set of images.

I am thinking of the theme of the material-immaterial, and my idea would be to also record a conversation between the artists, which I’d transcribe and use as text for the publication.”

3. Material Immaterial Test Books at Cosmos Arles

4. Material Immaterial Test Books at Offprint Paris

5. Material Immaterial and ‘The State of Things’