Perspectives on contemporary printmaking – Q&A with Ruth Pelzer-Montada
What book in this field has inspired you the most?
It was the lack of such a book that inspired me! But of course, there are many sources from within the field of printmaking and beyond that have inspired me and continue to do so. Some have found their way into the anthology, others – for reasons of space/cost – not. I’m also hoping that somebody else will pick up the mantle and expand on Perspectives on contemporary printmaking.
Did your research take you to any unexpected places?
I especially enjoyed looking at recent ‘creative’ writing on art.
What did you enjoy the most about writing your book?
Probably the decision-making process in making a selection from the huge number of potential sources that I had identified (and kept finding). Then, creating a structure and developing a narrative that tied the selected sources together.
I also enjoyed the exchange with many of the authors and the artists who kindly contributed images – as well as administrative staff at publishers, museums, galleries and copyright agencies – many of whom were extremely helpful.
What did you find hardest about writing your book?
Deciding which sources to include and which not! Obviously, I would have liked to have included many more…
Is this your first published book, or have you had others published?
How did you feel when you saw your first published book?
I haven’t seen the actual hard copy yet, but I’m looking forward to holding it in my hands – I’m very pleased with the cover image by Ciara Phillips and the design – I think it looks fresh and inviting.
Why did you choose to publish with MUP?
The decision followed a conversation with Emma Brennan at the Association of Art Historians’ conference. I am delighted to publish with MUP because of its excellent reputation.
Did you approach writing this book differently to any of your previous work?
To some extent, yes – while elements are quite similar in terms of research and identifying and developing certain themes, ‘functioning’ as the editor is quite different from writing single-authored pieces. Also, the breadth of the topic posed a welcome challenge. All my other published writing tends to be on a specific aspect of printmaking in the context of contemporary art and I’m the sole author even on the occasions when collaborating with artists or art organisations.
Have you had time to think about your next research project yet? What are you working on now?
I am developing two further book projects:
The first will be another edited book, but this time it will consist of commissioned essays. The topic will be print as used by many artists in the wider context of contemporary art in comparison to printmaking as an art form in its own right. Despite the fact that there is an increasing fluidity between these fields, their relationship is characterised by many tensions and hierarchical structures, at personal, professional, educational, institutional, procedural, curatorial, commercial and, indeed, aesthetic levels, all of which merit closer examination than has hitherto been the case.
The second book will be a sole-authored work in which I plan to re-visit and explore in the current, altered context themes that have concerned me in my research on printmaking as an artist and academic for more than twenty years – such as the question of the surface in printed art; ideas of the copy, repetition and reproduction; the concept of technology/technologies; ‘translation’ as a vital feature of print processes; materiality, ephemerality and the function of the frame in print, as well as notions of labour and craft to name but a few.
Perspectives on contemporary printmaking: Critical writing since 1986 is available to pre-order now! You can read a sample chapter or request an inspection or review copy.
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