Over the last decade, it has become impossible to ignore the sheer multiplicity of artistic styles, mediums and manufacturing processes that have come to characterize contemporary printmaking. Production and reproduction technologies have allowed artists to consistently push the boundaries of self-expression and work in an unprecedented range of new formats. However, the relentless pace of innovation and experimental research has instigated an equally radical counter-force; while some artists have fully embraced this digital revolution, a growing number remain unconvinced of its technical value and struggle to defend the merits of more normative modes of printmaking. This growing polarization between traditional and digital/experimental techniques hence brings about new preeminent interrogations within the field of printmaking: How can digital technologies and reproduction systems claim their rightful place in a longstanding tradition of artistic experience and imagination? Similarly, how can traditional methods of printmaking assure the craft’s ongoing continuation without becoming mere nostalgic reenactment, composites of an increasingly archaic form of expression?
The International Contemporary Miniprint of Kazanlak is an annual exhibition whose aim is to contextualize this discussion and frame it on a broader stage. As a month long event in the historical town of Kazanlak, Bulgaria (near the former Thracian town of Seuthopolis), the Contemporary Miniprint invites international artists to submit works holistically addressing the diversity and open-endedness of the creative process of printmaking. As the medium is not a substitute for content, artists are encouraged to submit either traditional or experimental/digital prints which demonstrate high quality and artistic/conceptual depth. Upon reception of the entries, an international jury will curate the art show and appoint two ex-aequo winning artists, jointly invited to send additional prints to be featured alongside the exhibition for the complete duration of the event. The exhibition will open on the first day of the renowned Rose Festival, a century old tradition and one of Bulgaria’s most celebrated events both locally and internationally. The format and timeframe of the Contemporary Miniprint of Kazanlak hence aims to provide a platform for artists, curators, collectors and art lovers to gather and exchange ideas, in turn generating knowledge and insight on the disciplinary legacy of printmaking.
The Art Gallery of Kazanlak during our 2015 edition.