Print Matters Exhibition
Centrala, 1 – 22 July
Print Matters is a showcase of the political and social power of DIY publishing.
Since the mid twentieth century, radical printshops have been seizing the means of production to spread ideas to the masses. While some of this material would previously have been a challenge to get past censors and editors, the photocopier + print press has made it nearly impossible to destroy all copies of a “dangerous” idea; affordable, accessible printing allowed every reader to become author and publisher.
For Print Matters we’ve selected a group of artists who share essential political ideas using the accessibility of print media. We’re delighted to showcase work by…
BLACK LODGE PRESS
Black Lodge Press is an ongoing print project inspired by queer anti-fascist culture and anarchy. Created by CJ, it comprises posters, graphics and zines espousing radical, direct action. There’s no gentle subtlety here.
“For me, making art started with punk. I got into it all as a young lad in West Cumbria, listening to bands like Crass, Black Flag and Dead Kennedys but simultaneously becoming obsessed with the artwork created for those bands by the likes of Gee Vaucher, Raymond Pettibon and Winston Smith.
The DIY nature of this art makes it accessible, which is what art should be. “ CJ firmly believes that art shouldn’t just be for the rich: “If it’s not cheap it’s not punk mate!
Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who control one! Prints and zines can be easily and affordably made in big batches, they can be given out or sold at gigs and events or pasted on walls. Print is an egalitarian medium. All you need is a photocopier! “
Image courtesy of Foka Wolf
Birmingham-based artist Foka Wolf hates advertising.
“They lie to people; they make people feel bad about themselves and basically just try and trick people into giving them money for whatever shit they are putting out there.”
So Foka Wolf makes their own. The anonymous artist’s work began as a serious of handwritten stickers serving as classified ads for organisations like “ILLUMINATI DEATH CULT”, “ROAD MAN CHAT” and “VOODOO FOR BEGINNERS”, and when they discovered that you could get enough large format prints made to cover a billboard for £25, they moved into full on subvertising. Occupying ad space with huge works that force conversation and poke fun at a host of brands, political parties, and individuals, Foka Wolf makes their prints at home in the post-truth apocalypse.
“People will believe anything if it’s packaged and polished in a certain way. That really worries me.”
‘Ideal Home’ Image courtesy of Gee Vaucher
Gee Vaucher is an internationally renowned political artist living outside Epping, Essex. She is best known for her radical creativity, montages, and iconic artwork for the infamous anarcho-pacifist band Crass. Employing an eclectic range of styles and techniques, coupled with an essentially DIY aesthetic, she creates powerful images exploring political, cultural, and personal issues. She sees her work as a tool for social change.
DOG SECTION PRESS
Dog Section Press is a not-for-profit publisher and distributor of seditious literature, and a worker-owned cooperative. They aim to keep their own publications affordable and distribute books and pamphlets that are inexpensive. Their books and pamphlets are printed with Calverts, a worker-owned co-operative based in east London. They produce DOPE Magazine, a quarterly newspaper which is distributed to anyone who could use a little solidarity, to sell on the street. Working with a network of radical bookshops, social centres, homeless organisations, and independent volunteers, they currently distribute 30,000 copies each issue. This is worth around £90,000 to their street-vendors – or almost £400,000 annually. DOPE is also free to prisoners, who can request copies via Haven Distribution.
La Linterna (The Lantern) is a letterpress printing workshop based in Cali, Colombia, which was established in 1934. It is dedicated to artisan printing of posters using linoleum engraving and the use of movable types. Each poster is an authentic work of art that represents the craft of printing and handcrafter engraving.
Their workshop in the San Antonio neighbourhood of Cali, Colombia is home to several classic printing machine. In 2016, the workshop was facing financial crisis. When the bosses at La Linterna stopped paying their employees, the workers occupied. Ultimately, they got rid of their bosses altogether, and now run the presses themselves.
La Linterna printed the works on display in collaboration with Dog Section Press. They are produced in the tradition of radical street propaganda, to be displayed in public spaces; their messages are as important today as ever.
Image courtesy of Lucy McLauchlan
Lucy McLauchlan paints walls, water towers, lighthouses, car parks, multi-stories, abandoned subway stations…
She will be launching her book of prints created while doing a residency in 2019 at Dial House, a space run by Gee Vaucher and Penny Rimbaud that will be published by Exitstencil Press.
“I was invited to spend couple weeks at Dial House – to look over the edge.
But I couldn’t step close, I was transfixed with where I was right then. Right there. This cottage holds a strength and voice, powered by its guardians. A fortitude solidified by the relations and creations built there and set out into the world.
Time & space is a rare gift. To simply be. Sheltered under the trees, a heavy duvet and tin pan. Only chores to hose yourself down once in a while, remember to eat, turn in when the light starts to fade. A chance to take a step closer.”