International Print Festival Philagrafika 2010

International Print Festival Philagrafika 2010
January 29 – April 11, 2010
Collaborative city-wide festival celebrates print in contemporary art; showcases internationally acclaimed & locally recognized artists


In January, Philadelphia will host the inaugural year of Philagrafika 2010 (January 29 – April 11, 2010), an international festival that celebrates the role of print as a vital force in contemporary art. Set to be one of the largest arts events in the United States, Philagrafika 2010 will showcase the work of more than 300 artists and will unite 88 Philadelphia art institutions, including Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Moore College of Art & Design, The Print Center, and Temple Gallery, Tyler School of Art, Temple University.

Philagrafika 2010 is the first presentation of what will become a recurring event in Philadelphia, highlighting print in contemporary artistic practice. Philagrafika, the presenting organization for the festival, anticipates that the event will repeat every three years. Philagrafika 2010 will offer regional, national, and international audiences the opportunity to see contemporary art that references printmaking in dynamic, unexpected ways and to experience Philadelphia’s rich cultural life in the process. To highlight the artists, exhibitions, and participating venues included in the citywide festival, Philagrafika has recently launched the new Philagrafika 2010 website.

The festival is curated by Artistic Director José Roca, an internationally recognized Colombian curator who co-curated the 2006 São Paulo Biennial. Roca first came to Philadelphia in 2002 after participating in the Whitney Museum’s independent studies program, serving as the Institute of Contemporary Art’s Whitney-Lauder Curatorial Fellow.

“José Roca is the perfect choice as Artistic Director for this inaugural presentation,” says Philagrafika Executive Director Teresa Jaynes. “He has been part of the curatorial team for a number of biennialstyle events, and he views the collaborative nature of Philagrafika 2010 as a unique opportunity to expand on the biennial model.”

Philagrafika 2010 is the result of more than five years of planning by the staff of Philagrafika and a group of committed individuals who have mobilized the entire community around these common interests, Media
resulting in a citywide collective effort, which appropriately reflects the collaborative nature of printmaking itself.

In 2008, Roca formed a curatorial team whose members include: John Caperton, Curator of Prints & Photographs at The Print Center; independent curator Sheryl Conkelton; Shelley Langdale, Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Lorie Mertes, Director/Chief Curator of the Galleries at Moore College of Art & Design; and Julien Robson, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Working with the curatorial team, Roca traveled across continents, visiting artist studios, print shops, biennials and other art events in search of artists to include in Philagrafika 2010.

Philagrafika 2010 is divided into three components: a core curated exhibition titled The Graphic Unconscious showcasing the work of 35 artists from 18 countries displayed across 5 venues; Out of Print which pairs 5 historic institutions with 5 artists – each to create new work inspired by an institution’s collection; and Independent Projects, organized by 78 additional Philadelphia cultural institutions featuring a huge variety of monographic, group, and thematic exhibitions in which the printed image plays a central role.

Philagrafika 2010’s core exhibition is organized by Roca and the curatorial team. The Graphic Unconscious explores the ubiquitous presence of printed matter in our visual culture, exposing the print component in sculptural, environmental, performance, pictorial and video works, and highlighting their relevance to contemporary art and society. “Leaving an imprint is the basis of printmaking – the print is the witness of the primeval urge to make one’s mark for posterity,” says Roca.

At Moore College of Art & Design, artists Gunilla Klingberg (Sweden), Virgil Marti (US) Paul Morrison (UK), Betsabeé Romero (Mexico), and Regina Silveira (Brazil) have created new works or reimagined existing pieces that employ printmaking in patterning and ornamentation. The environmentallyscaled projects wrap walls, cover floors and obscure windows transforming the gallery spaces: Klingberg’s patterned vinyl spans the windows across the college entrance; Romero’s imprinted tire tracks and carved tires line the walls of Graham Gallery; Silveira’s bold patterns swarm across the floors and climb the columns of the Goldie Paley Gallery; Marti’s wallpaper illuminates the Window on Race Street by day and night; and Morrison’s 40-foot-long graphic outdoor mural extends the exhibition into the immediate community.

At Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Christiane Baumgartner (Germany), Pepon Osorio (US), Mark Bradford (US), Kiki Smith (Germany), Orit Hofshi (Israel), Qiu Zhijie (China) and the collective Tromarama (Indonesia) take conventionally recognized mediums and treat them in new and imaginative ways. Working with woodcuts Baumgartner and Hofshi realize the woodcut’s potential on an immense scale while Tromarama turn each cut of the wooden panel into the frame of a stop-motion animation.

Bradford collages together found posters and then sands this surface to excavate other forms of information hidden underneath, while Osorio prints on confetti in a work that turns two-dimensional print into three-dimensional sculpture. Smith collages lithographs on hand made paper into large-scale poetic works, and Qiu Zhijie carves traditional Chinese calligraphy from concrete blocks that, after being printed, stand as sculptures in their own right alongside the wall hung images.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art presents work by Oscar Muñoz (Colombia) and Tabaimo (Japan) – two artists who translate aspects of printmaking into other mediums, pushing the conceptual boundaries typically associated with the print. Muñoz explores the ephemeral implications of the imprint with two projects: a new installation of portraits printed in pigment floating on water (shown in-process) and a suite of video portraits that involve a variation of this innovative printing technique. Using imagery inspired by Japanese cultural sources that range from traditional woodcuts to contemporary comics and animations, Tabaimo continues her examination of the complexities of everyday life with the U.S. debut of a 2007 video installation.

The Print Center will be redesigned by Philadelphia collective Space 1026, turning it into a lounge/reading room/interactive printing workshop. Serving as the hub of Philagrafika 2010’s activities, the space will be hosted by a diverse and continuously changing roster of artists and collectives.

Centered on the idea of creating community through production, the show also addresses how artists have used printmaking to access a broad audience and disseminate their work widely. The Print Center will include Mexican artist Erick Beltrán’s interactive printing system, as well as editions, publications, videos, and programs by Eric Avery (US), Bittercomix (South Africa), Eloísa Cartonera (Argentina), Sue Coe (UK), Julius Deutschbauer (Austria), Dexter Sinister (UK), Dispatch (US), Drive By Press (US), Art Hazelwood (US), Jenny Schmid (US), Self Help Graphics (US), and Temporary Services (US).

Projects installed in and around Temple Gallery at Tyler School of Art, Temple University, by Thomas Klipper (Germany), Carl Pope (US), Francesc Ruiz (Spain), the collective Superflex (Denmark), Swoon (US), Barthélémy Toguo (Cameroon), and the collective YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES (Korea) will explore how print, from early broadsheets to new electronic media, has been not only the vehicle for news but the very arena in which information has been publicly debated. The artists’ works explore the role of the print in the circulation of ideas that create a public realm and generate new dynamics of exchange with innovative and reconfigured media platforms, rewritten histories, and new imaginaries of place.

Out of Print pairs five of Philadelphia’s most important historic archives and collections with five artists to create a series of public programs that will occur over the course of the festival. (For updates on the program calendar, visit These artists have worked not only with the collections themselves – documents, printed materials of all kinds, and objects – but also with the stories behind them, to explore new interpretations and associations. Out of Print links contemporary art and history in a project designed specifically to showcase the region’s long history as a center for printmaking and publishing.

Lisa Anne Auerbach (US) worked with the American Philosophical Society (APS) Museum on a second iteration of her series The Tract House. This version of her project, titled The Tract House: A Darwin Addition, was inspired by the current exhibition Dialogues with Darwin, drawn from the APS’s own Charles Darwin letters, manuscripts and books.

Artists Martin Mazorra and Mike Houston of the collective Cannonball Press (US) worked with the collections at the Independence Seaport Museum and focused their research on the 1892 decommissioned Navy vessel, the Cruiser Olympia, by printing its interpretation of the shipboard newspaper, The Bounding Billow. In the April of 2010, the artists will bring the ship to life with printing events where the public can come and learn about letterpress printing.

Enrique Chagoya (Mexico/US) chose as inspiration a print by populist artist George Cruikshank called The Headache, from the collection of the Rosenbach Museum & Library. Visitors will be able to compare and contrast the styles of a prolific and controversial printmaker of the 19th Century with an artist using similar approaches of humor and satire to address contemporary subjects today.

For his project, What in The World, 2009, Pablo Helguera (Mexico/US) proposes an “unauthorized biography” of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Helguera re-creates the set of the original TV show of the same name – created in the 1950s by Froelich Rainey – where the public can see a series of videos in which invited participants trace the history of a particular object. These programs will also be aired as a “season” on YouTube.

For his contribution to Out of Print, Duke Riley (US) utilized the archives of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Riley is working on a classified project for Philagrafika 2010 which involves an island in the Philadelphia area and a public program at a currently undisclosed location. Riley uses a multitude of media to realize his projects, including drawing, printmaking, mosaic, sculpture, performative interventions, and video.

Organized by 78 additional cultural institutions in the Greater Philadelphia area, Independent Projects includes a vast selection of exhibitions, performances, and site-specific installations in which the printed image plays a central role. Institutions presenting Independent Projects include Academy of Natural Sciences, Art Institute of Philadelphia, The Clay Studio, Crane Arts, The Design Center at Philadelphia University, The Fabric Workshop and Museum, FLUXspace, Institute of Contemporary Art, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Main Line Art Center, Mural Arts Program, Nexus Foundation for Today’s Art, Painted Bride Art Center, Philadelphia International Airport, Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial, The University of the Arts, and Woodmere Art Museum, among others.

Philagrafika will be releasing a series of editions or multiples by a number of participating festival artists.
All prints from this special series will be available for sale to the public. The first commissioned limited edition print in Philagrafika 2010’s Signature Print Series was created by Colombian artist, Oscar Muñoz, whose festival installation will be presented at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The first of the exclusive prints was unveiled during Philagrafika 2010’s Countdown Benefit, held October on 14.

Philagrafika will unveil Regina Silveira’s print during the festival’s opening weekend and will unveil additional prints throughout the festival’s run.