Chemistry of the Blueprint | The Handbag Factory
12 – 17 December 2023
A blueprint refers to a precise technical drawing that outlines the specifications, of a building or other complex structure. It serves as a visual guide for engineers, or manufacturers to follow when constructing or fabricating something. A crucial tool for turning ideas into reality and providing a structured path forward. “Chemistry of The Blueprint” is an invitation to delve into the laboratory of human thought and societal evolution. It’s a journey through the conceptual architecture of our world, an invitation to contemplate the designs that have shaped our past, challenge our present, and inspire our future. Moreover, “Blueprint” invites us to consider societies themselves as monumental architectural endeavours, constructed upon the foundational principles and values that shape the collective destiny.
This exhibition encourages us to examine the robustness of these societal foundations and how they have evolved over time. In the realm of thought, ideas are the architects of our actions. The blueprints of our intellectual pursuits. Whether penned on paper or etched into the collective memory, these mental schematics dictate our choices and decisions, guiding us toward innovation, progress, or, at times, destruction.
“Blueprint” challenges us to contemplate the invisible structures that shape our beliefs, attitudes, and the course of human history.
Artists: Amale Freiha Khlat / Bonnie Wong & Jun Wang / Camila Mora Scheihing / Constanza Dessain / Matthew Wilson / Radek Husak
Each printmaker and artist’s unique style, technique, and thematic focus contribute to a rich and multifaceted exploration of the blueprint concept, offering visitors a deeper understanding of how the structure of ideas and the foundation of society can be represented through this medium.
The artists in this proposal share a curiosity about print’s associations with industrial procedures, archives and use at the service of replicating information. Working beyond these perimeters allows them to embrace the disobedience, entropy and material encounter in the processes they work with.
Amale Freiha Khlat a British/Lebanese artist, is concerned with the everyday banality of the spectacle of war that surrounds us on our screens.
In this exhibition, she presents a portrayal of the Clouds of war and hope. Titled “Melodies of the Skies: The Clouds Chorus and their Journey Home,” this composition showcases a cluster of clouds using a combination of traditional and digital techniques, including sculpture, print, watercolour, video, sound, and print. By sculpting clouds, Amale highlights the juxtaposition between the solidity of the material and the ephemeral nature of clouds. The enduring solidity of stone aims to capture the ethereal beauty of clouds, evoking a sense of timelessness and permanence. Through her research, Amale has sought to translate and communicate her memories of war through various forms and objects. Her work combines destruction and creation, drawing inspiration from the void. Her installations invite viewers to contemplate the theatre of the world through different scenes and windows, engaging their senses and perceptions. By doing so, she reminds them that looking is a relational act that involves both selection and exclusion.
Bonnie Wong is an artist from Hong Kong living between London, Manchester, and different cities in China. She works extensively with mediums such as video, sound, various forms of print matters, and installations. Her work is both socio-political commentaries as much as poetic meditation on identity and migration.
Jun Wang is from Qingdao, China and has lived in Canada and the UK for the past decade. After obtaining a degree in Industrial Design she further explored printmaking by pursuing a Master’s degree at the Royal College of Art (UK). Jun’s work looks into how we measure time through investigating its relation to nature, the universe and memory. She is fascinated by the most easily overlooked, ubiquitous elements that quietly coexist with us and centres her work around these instinctive moments of the every day.
Jun and Bonnie’s research focuses on the relationship between nature, personal and collective history and languages. There is a strong emphasis on the process of relocation and how it generates interpreted memories and unfamiliarity. Their works include artist books, print, moving image and installations. In the past three years, they have been invited and commissioned to create site-specific installations in various locations in Europe and Asia.
Photography is central to French/Chilean Camila Mora Scheihing’s multdisciplinary practice. In certain instances, found/lost photographs are used as source material for the purpose of correlating past images to the present. In other cases, they question the nature of photography as a representation of reality by opposing the digital to the analog, truth to fiction. She is continuously trying to understand the past through the present and the present through the past. It is through filmic narratives that she searches for the flaws, and finds the specter in the image.
Constanza Dessain is a Scottish artist and researcher who works with the imprint to think about ecological entanglement and repair. Work is improvised out in the landscape, chasing the changes of each season. In this series, the materials of early photography are used in direct contact with the ice on a frozen pool. The membranes bleed into each other, there are tears and slippages, and over time they shift and decay. We see the lively negotiations of substances and environment usually tidied away to meet the expectations of photographic images.
Matthew Wilson (b. 1991) is an Edinburgh based artist and educator. His practice takes process heavy techniques and applies them to artistic media including printmaking, sculpture, audio and text. Through these repetitive processes of repurposing, Wilson explores possible new narratives, nuances and contexts for found images, objects and archival materials.
His work for this exhibition was made recently as part of the Royal Scottish Academy Residencies at Dundee Contemporary Arts. It draws on a research period spent in the RSA’s archive where he worked with a collection of mid-1800s lithographs which sought to reproduce medieval Italian frescos and altarpieces.
Rad Husak, a contemporary process-driven mixed media artist, was born in Poland in 1984. Based in London and with a Master’s degree from the Royal College of Art, his practice is firmly situated in the expanded field of print. Through extensive research and experimentation, Husak has developed his own process – defining the technique of pigment transfer combined with paint and hand-drawn elements on sandblasted aluminium, paper and canvas. His innovative approach and use of everyday materials enable him to continuously develop his technique.
By impressing images onto a variety of media, his work implies movement while referencing the trace itself. This new and dynamic approach to printmaking re-contextualises these by employing the glitch, digitally altering and manipulating the representation in the process.