Cold day with Ambiorix

Posted: 24/11/2010 in Uncategorized

Tongeren (or Atuatuca Tongorum) is the oldest city in Belgium. Some of its architectural sites are beautifully restored, some still in reconstruction. It hosts a street-market of antiques which is famous at home and abroad.

Here are impressions of my visit there accompanying Francis Dirix and Pieter Jonker.

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More than ten years ago one extraordinary fine press book got my attention: The wood engravers of North America.

The people behind the book were Crispin & Jan Elsted from the Barbarian Press, Mission, Canada. When I visited them in Mission in 2002 I was enchanted by their way of life and high standard of bookmaking.

As wood engraver I was fortunate to be chosen by them for their Endgrain Edition.

We became dear friends and they inspired my own efforts in making books and establishing my PepelPress the same year. However, I haven’t  forgotten the deep impression of their first book on the American tradition in wood engraving. In 2004 I already had a concept for a similar book dedicated to the tradition of engraving of the department of printmaking where I graduated – University of Velico Turnovo, Bulgaria.

I didn’t have the ambition to make a ‘history’ book, rather a personal one. The idea was to assemble a volume with original prints made by my teachers, my colleagues, my students, the students of their student….up until now. Since then I have been collecting blocks from all people I knew will fit in this simple scheme.

Years passed….

And the last weekend, at the friendly house of the excellent Belgian master printer Francis Dirix in Hasselt, in his Black Box studio, the first steps to accomplishing the project were firmly laid.

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On the forthcoming PEPELpress book “word/image”

“….А сега искам да ти покажа как всъщност ще изглежда книгата (това е малък проект, но е в мащаб и само ще скочи на по-голям формат). ще си оставя по пет отпечатъка за изложбени цели, а остналите ще нарежа в този им вид.

Иска ми се и някаква много груба подвързия, която да напомня бетон….

Цялата идея се върти около динамиката на изображение/мисъл/свободна изява/двусмисленост…

 Поезията, която тези отпечатъци допълват се върти около следната мисъл: ‘омразата към хората е винаги облечена в човеколюбиви думи’ и ‘ненавистта към човека се движи облечена в миролюбиви одежди’….

Аз от години исках да направя нещо с тема ‘графити’ и ето го случая.

Графитите изразяват точно тази дубиозност на ‘свободата на израза’ бил той чрез слово или чрез образ. В графитите се сблъскват спонтанната изява на това право с тревожната двусмислена образност, не-еднозначност на посланията. Много често анархизмът надделява, ‘поуката’ е абсурдистка и всякакъв латентен вид на ‘ненавист’ към идеология, етнос, пол и прочее прозира под повърхността… и т.н. Самите текстове смятам да печатам на прозрачни хартии и просто ги налепя по отпечатъците, както афиши или други съобщение са лепени по стените…та нали става дума за ‘уличната’ изява на ‘истината’ по стените на града?”

…Here some preliminary (small!) sketches for the book. 

The direction where I am heading: I would like to make the Kopland’s poetry (Haat gaat gekleed als vreedzame mensen, Uit de bundel ‘Wie wat vindt heeft slecht gezocht’, 1972, Uitgeverij van Oorschot) as random posters on walls covered with graffiti. The verses (printed on semi-transparent paper) will be literary glued to the prints. I have chosen dubious images from my photos of graffiti which I collected for years. They must give the unsettled feel that ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘humanism’ do not always go hand in hand….

On January 14th 2009, Wednesday, a work by Bulgarian artist Peter Lazarov will officially enter the prestigious collection of the Plantin Moretus Museum, Antwerp, Belgium.

It is, for the first time, that a Bulgarian artists’ work will enter the collection of one of the most renowned graphical museums in the world – the first printing house, whose library has been recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage.

The museum notably houses the oldest printing machines in the world (XVI century), and has in its collections a.o. the graphical work of Peter Paul Rubens, as well as a copy of the Guttenberg Bible.

The work of Peter Lazarov that will enter the collection was offered by GreenCat Gallery and accepted by the museum, and consists of a printing block and the first print of an invitation for the Frans Masereel exhibition that took place in Sofia in November 2008. One hundred prints were made of which Number 1 will now find its place in the museum, as well as the original printing block which will equally guarantee no supplementary editions of the work.

The overhanding will take place on Wednesday, January 14th, at 11 o’clock, at the Plantin Moretus Museum.  For this, we would kindly request your assistance, and hope that yourself, or a delegate from the Bulgarian embassy will be present for this exceptional moment.

The short ceremony will be headed by Mr. Toon Streppel – Head of Office of European Parliament in Bulgaria, in name of GreenCat Gallery, in the presence of Mr. Peter Lazarov, Kurt Houbrechts, Nadia Maneva, and (hopefully – of H.E. Mr. Christo Georgiev – Ambassador of Bulgaria in Brussels).

The work will be accepted officially into the collection by Mme Marijke Hellemans, Curator of the Museum, in the presence of Mr. Peter De Wilde, Cabinet expert for the Olderman of culture of the city of Antwerp, Mme Odette Peterink, Public Relations of the Plantin Moretus museum, and Mr. Guy Hutsebaut, typographical expert of the museum.

Boekkunstbeurs Leiden 2008

Posted: 12/11/2008 in Books