Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The contributions of Johannes Gutenberg

During the Renaissance period, the art of printmaking especially woodblock prints became popular. The invention of the movable type printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th Century revolutionized the art of printmaking forever. Although a similar technology was present in China which used wood block letters, his machine was proven to be a more highly practical alternative. It used durable metal letters that were removable, therefore, made it a lot easier to make many different letter combinations. Wood block letters on the other hand were far much difficult to use as the letters were immovable. So, in order to print different word and letter combonations, new woodcuts would have had to be created. Gutenberg's invention was the perfect example of what it means to "work smarter, not harder."
With Gutenberg's printing press, copies of the same document could be literally be printed hundreds of thousands of times before the letters needed to be replaced. This allowed for the widespread of documents and literature which were on the demand with the rise of humanism and the need for the advancement of oneself using education as one medium. His method was faster and could keep up with the rising demand for writing.

The invention of the movable letter type press set the stage for further advancement and eventually the copying machines we have come to know so well in our technically advanced world. This made it possible for today's copier art. With the help of centuries of constant revisions and advancements, the copier art makes it possible for artists to create more than one copy of  his/ her artwork. This means that people  worldwide could have a copy of someones artwork who lives millions of miles away. Artist fame is now widespread and important today so that was one of the good things that came out of Gutenberg's invention.

Copier art is similar to the letterpress in that they are both used to make images. Copier art is easier to manipulate and change. With the letterpress, it is so much harder because in order to change something, you would have to do the entire print from scratch.

Below are a few contemporary prints:

Belinda NyeAnnya's Dreaming
Aquatint Etching Print 30x30 inches

Jiang YiXunThe Pure and Sweat Spring Water in Chinese Border Area, 1980
68x64cm, Woodcut.

[Andy Warhol Marilyn Monroe][Andy Warhol Marilyn Monroe][Andy Warhol Marilyn Monroe][Andy Warhol Marilyn Monroe][Andy Warhol Marilyn Monroe][Andy Warhol Marilyn Monroe][Andy Warhol Marilyn Monroe][Andy Warhol Marilyn Monroe][Andy Warhol Marilyn Monroe][Andy Warhol Marilyn Monroe]
Andy Warhol
Marilyn Monroe
Screenprint on white paper.
36" x 36"
Edition of 250, signed in pencil and numbered with rubber stamp on verso; some signed in ball-point pen;some only initialled on verso; some dated. There are 26 AP, signed and lettered A-Z on verso.

Andy Warhol
Marcia Weisman
Screenprint on Arches Aquarelle paper
Edition of 10

Definitions of words:

Antinomy: A paradox

Fluxus: An art movement that combines different areas of art such as visual art and music.

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