2015 | Photo Etching, 96x216cm (Plate 80x200cm)
The little errors we love
Tick Tack is a multi-layered work in many respects. First, the (analog) photograph it is based on was exposed twice, showing at the same time the front and back side of a human figure. Second, in the process of its making, it has gone through a series of transmissions – from the analog negative to a digital scan, to a computer file, to a print on film, to an etched plate, and finally, to a print on paper. The finished product bears traces of all of these different stages, and moreover, of the mistakes that happened during these stages. Because of its size, two plates had to be used, leaving a horizontal streak in the middle of the picture. Because the printer could only print on a film of 60 centimeters, two films had to be taped together, resulting in a dark vertical line at the overlay because two films would allow a much lesser amount of light to touch the photosensitive lamination. Finally, during the printing process, the etched lamination would splinter, leaving an erratic edge and white islands that got bigger with every print.
Regardless of that, Tick Tack was never planned as a glorification of errors in the printmaking process. It was planned and executed at every stage as good as my skills (and those of the people that were helping me) allowed me. Still, errors occurred. An error can only be an error if it was not intended as such. If it finds a way through our well-hatched plans and our carefulness, it should be paid attention. Sometimes, to be corrected, sometimes to be pursued. Art, I think, emerges at the threshold of the physical world and the world of ideas – we dream of a perfect execution, but each material has a will of its own, metal bends, ink spills, wood splinters. That is what makes them special, these little errors they create; that is why we love them. They convert our boring dreams of perfection into something a lot uglier – and a lot better.