Thursday, August 02, 2007

Re:Print, Re:Present, Re:View is in full production. It is an exciting time here at Philagrafika. We have been working with curator Salah Hassan, and Temple Gallery Director Sheryl Conkelton for a year on this project. The artists are Rachid Koraichi, Berni Searle and Maria Magdalena Campos Pons. They were asked to create work for a project here in Philadelphia using the printed image and Philadelphia as inspiration. Over the last 6 months we have been working really hard with the artists to realize their projects and the final installation at Temple Gallery will be really rewarding.

The staff is definitely learning from this project. Although the logistics are a daily challenge, overall the experience has been positive. In fact, one of the biggest challenges is to create large installations at three sites, when the artists all live outside Philadelphia, and two out of three outside the country. Berni is in South Africa, Rachid is currently in Tunisia and Magdalena is in Boston.

Rachid has been working with us from overseas - he is an Algerian artist living in Paris. Many of our production meetings have been early morning conference calls to Tunisia; Rachid is currently working on creating an artist residency program in an ancient castle. Our gracious translator Vincent Renou helping us decipher Rachid's production needs for a outdoor/indoor banner project.

Some of the highlights focusing on print are:
Magdalena's use of print to transform an aging interior. to brighten the first floor of the Paul Robeson House, a historical landmark and through what she called an artist "gentrification." Through her wallpaper she hopes to bring interest to a site--using her project to focus attention to this important landmark of African American in Philadelphia.

Rachid's banner project (shown in this post) includes one for William Penn, featuring a stylized map of Philadelphia. This is Philagrafika's first foray into installed city public art. And, as curator Salah Hassan explains about Rachid's project Homage to Love and Memories, "His compositions and production drawings for the banners are rooted in Sufi significations, and their ordering of numbers and their symbolisms suggest the transcendent link between human beings and the divine order. Accordingly, Koraichi's use of the number Seven and its multiples serves as the primary symbol for this banner project."

A detail from the production drawing featuring a stylized map of Philadelphia by artist Rachid Koraichi. City Hall at the center surrounded by the parks appearing as leafy branches, and Eastern State Penitentiary shown in upper left represented as a asterisk shape within the square. The watery designs of our two rivers flank on the right and left.

Papermakers will be excited about Berni's exploration of documentation of a act incorporating hand papermaking - her body is draped with freshly cast paper. A black crepe paper rosette is then placed on the white sheet. Photographs documenting the process as the crepe paper slowly bleeds its color into the wet pulp.

And finally, I am really excited about the simple artist publications - ephemeral artist pamphlets that can be collected over time and supplemented with downloadable PDF components from our website - encouraging audience to collect over the course of the exhibition. A package will be available that can hold all the publication components.

I promise to post more frequently the progress on this project and the upcoming gallery installation and site specific projects develop.

Posted by Caitlin Perkins on August 2, 2007

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