Printmaking and the Post Medium Condition 'a Borderless State'?


Dr Ruth Pelzer-Montada & Dr Paul Thirkell


Lesley Duxbury (AUS)
Kit Wise (AUS)
Joel Gailer (AUS)
Matthew Perkins (AUS)


In recent years, excellent surveys of contemporary printmaking such as Miles/Saunders 2006), Richard Noyce (2006) and, more recently, Paul Coldwell (2010) have mapped the terrain of the ‘expanded practice’ of printmaking today which, in addition to/variations on traditional printmaking processes, encompasses video, installation, digital and public art and so on. Practices in printmaking departments at art colleges and degree exhibitions mirror and expand what is already happening in the broader context: Students in printmaking departments make videos or drawings or photographs. While this may be seen as an indicator of the expanded notion of print, more often than not such work (or the student) does not seem to engage with historically established notions of print. This raises the question as to why would such a work should be made in a printmaking department and what is it that locates it in this area rather than in a media or photography department. Elsewhere, discipline specific departments are being altogether abolished. In the most drastic cases this entails the complete closure of printmaking workshops, more often than not they do remain, yet without a specific cohort of students attached. In that case, they function as a service facility to the broader disciplines of art and visual communication. Does the dissolving of discipline boundaries eliminate questions around an engagement with discipline-specific issues or exacerbate them? Without wanting to return to ontological definitions of the medium, we believe that such changes do ask for a reflection on what the medium of printmaking is and what it is that students do in printmaking departments or when they engage with printmaking. The issue of the necessity to keep specialist subject-knowledge alive is a constant concern of printmakers and pertains to a number of broader aesthetic, educational and institutional/political issues. We therefore wish to create a forum for an exchange on the experience of colleagues who are familiar with any of the scenarios described above. Rosalind’s Krauss’s reflections on the ‘post-medium condition’ and the meaning of ‘medium-specificity’ will be brought into play to further the debate.
The organisers feel that such a panel should take the form of a round table discussion rather than the usual format of individual paper presentations. We are keen to flexibly address issues around this topic in order (hopefully) to discover whether there are areas of general/philosophical consensus or whether we are all merely linked by fragmentary and tenuous connections.


Thursday 29 September


1:30pm - 3.00pm

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