Newspaper .3mm aluminum offset plate mounted on aluminum frame
69 x 99 x 2.5 cm
27 1/8 x 39 x 1 in
'Soleimani 1' In commercial offset printing (used for brochures, magazines, and newspapers), a page’s layout is burned into an aluminum panel via a computer-controlled laser beam. The panel is coated...
In commercial offset printing (used for brochures, magazines, and newspapers), a page’s layout is burned into an aluminum panel via a computer-controlled laser beam. The panel is coated with a light sensitive emulsion that hardens with exposure. Though the emulsion can be any color, the industry standard is blue. Once washed away the remaining images and text are printed in CMYK colors in four stages using a rotary press. Van der Auwera hijacks this fully automized process, intervening at the precise moment where light strikes the emulsified plates and transforming the factory space into one, large revelation chamber.
In the first series of Mementos the overexposed parts of the panel remained blue, while the protected areas turned white. What remained were semi-accidentally framed and cropped photographic prints with multiple layers, or remnants of the newspaper layout, filtering through the cyan. In a second stage Van der Auwera started to blow up the image and spread it across the frame.
In his most recent series of Mementos, Van der Auwera adds yet another element of elaboration. On top of the familiar cyan, he puts leftover ink back onto the rotary press and passes the plate through several times. This generates a varied palette of reds, blues, purples, yellows and greens that echo the series’ origins in his earlier work First without words (2013). At times, the works are interrupted by vertical lines or strokes, as if undergoing a fast pace treatment by a dysfunctional machine. Instead of painting with light, as with his blue works, here Van der Auwera applies paint by proxy.