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2005 NIEUWSGIERIGE bladen / NIJSGJIRRICHE siden

INQUISITIVE ­ CURIEUX ­ NEUGIERIG

 

 

afbeelding joop

De kalender 2005 zou verder ontwikkeld worden tot het boek 'COASTAL PIECES' dat in ditzelfde jaar aan de gemeente Dokkum werd aangeboden bij de officieële ingebruikname van de nieuwe es en bes klokken voor de beiaard. De Es Klok is de 'Douma klok'.

De kalender en het boek werden gemaakt als 'werk in progressie'; voortdurend werd er tijdens het drukproces ingegrepen in het beeld, een avontuur voor drukker en ontwerper dat aanleiding was voor het artikel dat André Ligthart Schenk schreef op uitnodiging van 'Forum Book Art', in het internationaal jaarboek voor boekkunst, dat door hen wordt uitgegeven.

afbeelding kalenderAndré Ligthart Schenk on the way 'Joop' prints in the magazine 'Forum Book Art, Hamburg 2006':

 

Joseph Johannes Visser; dangerous techniques on the offset press.

Boys can be utterly inquisitive. So can girls.
Some do their research in a destructive manner: they break up every thing and spread all parts. It would not make them the wiser. After their research things don't work any more.
Others do unusual things with their toys: they might transform their trains into working paddle steamers, a moped is rebuilt into a go-kart, a radio becomes a guitar amplifier.

Joseph Johannes Visser is an artist/researcher and belongs in the last category. He is indeed a researcher. All his life he has searched the limits of instruments and tools. Joseph's idea is that tools and machines are capable to do a lot more than what they are designed for. This he consequently applies to the simple manual presses just as well as for the most advanced graphic computers, for modern off-set presses, for ink, and for any variety of papers. This to the extreme consequence, the products that he himself makes. Like the calendars for Drukkerij Douma Dokkum (a printer in the Frisian town of Dokkum) that are not just what they seem to be and can have other functions than that of a calendar.

For over ten years Silvia and Nico Douma - Drukkerij Douma Dokkum - put their printing presses, punching and folding machines at the artist/researcher's disposal.
This results in a range of closely related products, consisting of calendars, artist's books, the 'kopperprent' of 2002 (the centennial commemoration print of Drukkerij Douma Dokkum), small editions with original grafics and new musical compositions for the carillon of the town hall, with its new bells. The ultimate proof of Joseph's non-destructive method, as the new bells were an intagrated part of some complete action.

afbeelding kalenderJoseph's philosophy on the possibilities of 'machine and material' originates from his unconventional approach (that is: not prescribed by convention or custom). He simply has to, because what he wants to achieve can not be realized by conventional methods and means. On top of all that: Joseph is a very curious man: 'there must be more (between heaven and earth)'. And this always seems to be the case when investigating his way.

A cooperation like this between an artist and a printer can only exist under strict preconditions. One needs mutual trust to gegin with. The printer needs a certain reassurance that the artist cares enough for the computer and the machinery, will not spill resources or wast time of the employees. The artist needs the liberty to change and interfere in the printing process wherever he rules it necessary, without worrying about efficiency. He must be able to work in an unconventional manner, which asks for active involvement of the man on the machine.

This can last only as long as both parties see profit in such cooperation. For the printer there are two advantages; he shows himself as someone with an keen eye for the creative aspects of his trade, while on the other hand he discovers the extra capacity in programs and machines that he can use for commercial purposes.
The artist is able to develop his artistic craft, and the technical knowledge in a way he could from his very own resources never afford.

This artist, Joseph Johannes Visser, is given the opportunity to strive for his own goals. Which are these?
It is difficult for an outsider to put this into words, and indeed summarize. In a wealth of prints and texts Joseph has left the results of such quests. I will try and describe some of questions in his pursuit, and I am sure these would never be his words.
a. What developments has the printing industry gone through, in procedures and technology since Gutenberg, and which role have graphic artists there.
b. What influence had production processes in printing industry on the aesthetics in design.
c. What influence had the artists on the development of aesthetics of printed matter. Take artist so different as Gustave Doré, Paul van Ostaijen and Hendrik N. Werkman as an example.

afbeelding kalenderHere no answers to these questions, only a general description of the reflections Joseph has, related to his position as an artist working in the printing industry.
Can we see Gutenberg as an inventor of the art of printing? Definitely not, that is if we put the artistic side first. He was first and foremost an entrepreneur. He could be called the inventor of 'printing industry'. His contribution in the first place was the organisation of capital and the logistics resulting in fast and cheap reproduction methods of text. Efficiency first. In the centuries that followed an opinion developed that 'good' printing according to the criteria of profitability in the printing trade was 'beautiful' printing. Length of lines, legibility of fonts and page proportions produced in the printing industry, determined what the reading public learned to consider as an ideal. Artists were admitted only into the trade as illustrators. Now and then there have been artists that were interested in the creative prospects of the printing process. In the Netherlands before World War II Hendrik Nicolaas Werkman realised that more could be done with letters and colourful forms than 'proper' printers alowed. He used letters not only for their meaning in a word, but also for their abstract shape. He liberated the letter and made it into an independent graphic element with expressive value. The Antwerp born poet Paul van Ostaijen used the shapes of letters and words and their position on the page as part of the process leading up to expression. Joseph Johannes Visser is an artist in this tradition: he gaines in-depth knowledge in the expressive opportunities of the common modern printing process, and the machinery and tools that are used in the printing trade.

Closely watching the results is the best way to experience what proves to be possible when Joseph is left to his own devices with graphic software, film, offset plate, ink and paper. But a short explanation can help to focus one's eyes on what's there to be seen. At the printer's office 'Drukkerij Douma Dokkum' films are still made with the aid of graphic software. The images are copied on printing plates. Visser intervenes in every phase of this process where he thinks it necessary. Putting the 'impossiblities' he so dearly loves aside, he plays with the graphic software, he actually manipulates the film and offset plates by adding or removing elements at any given time. Furthermore he mixes the inks to gain colour effects that are impossible to achieve with the separation technique of colour printing. In this way he creates printings with an extraordinary character. A citation from the explanation to the fore mentioned 'kopperprent' of 2002: "Visser drew directly on an existing film with lithographic chalk and exposed the offset plate with this manipulated film. While printing in many separate colours, plates and prints were doctored on by the artist".afbeelding kalender
The text of the calendar 2005 is printed in silver, olive-green, gold, deep red and black. The colourful shapes on each of the six pages, vary from page to page. Some of them resemble lino-cuts. The intense saturated colours (in all some 20 different colours are used to make a basis), printed one on top of each other become more massive on one page, and on an other page they are almost transparent, silvery purple and green, making unnamed new colours. Prose texts and poems (in Latin, English and Frisian mainly) describe many aspects of nature and the human body. On the backside of each page reproductions are printed of the manuscripts of music for piano and for chimes. Both texts and compositions are by the artist himself.
We are left with a question: is this original graphic art or is it skilful reproduction? What distinguishes original graphic art from reproduction? Fons van der Linden wrote a booklet published by Cantecleer, De Bilt in 1992, entitled "Hoe origineel is grafiek; over het onderscheiden en onderkennen van originele grafiek" (How original is graphic art; on distinguishing and recognizing original graphic art), in which he introduces the helpful concept of 'uitvoeringsconcept' (realization concept) that he defines as: the choice of techniques by which the work of art is made, and the development of the idea how to realize it with line, form, and colour. And he argues: "Because every expressive process has its own particular possibilities and restrictions, and because every artist uses these in his own personal way, the artist who developes and cherishes the concept, and who knows the technical means at his disposal is the very one to decide on the appropriate way to realize his work of art. A work of art that was created during such process, is to be considered an original work of art. ..... Mechanical reproduction lacks this original character because it is not based on an original realization concept, but is produced in a conventional printing process. afbeelding kalender
It will be obvious that the 'kopperprent 2002' and the calendars of recent years that Joseph Johannes Visser made on the presses of Drukkerij Douma Dokkum are original graphic art. He made the offset press 'free' by not conforming to the conventional work process in the printing business. He uses the workshop of Drukkerij Douma Dokkum as his studio.

 

 

 

 

Aan deze kalender werkten ook de vertalers Jantsje Post en Oep Elbers mee.
De teksten zijn opgenomen in de pagina met gedichten van Joseph J. Visser.

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