Ink-jet Paintings

In the September Artforum Wolfgang Tillmans waxes rhapsodical about ink-jet technology. He observes that many works shown as paintings today are ink-jets. There is no problem with this that I can see, in fact I was making them in 1997, as were Uta Barth and General Idea. Likewise I have no criticism of an ink-jet painting that derives from a photo or any other kind of digital file, and don’t see the need to distinguish between those and a “Brushes” drawing made on the iPad. The possibility of infinite copies is also completely legitimate. However, my own work is very different.

Robert Linsley, studio view 2002

It cannot be made in many copies, at least not by the same method—no two pours could ever give the same result. It is entirely material, and not digitisable in any way that could contribute to its production. As with the Bush in the previous post, any damage endured becomes a permanent part of the picture’s life, and as it happens the material is much more susceptible than acrylic color fields. The picture cannot be revived by being printed again. This is not a romantic, quasi-Luddite rejection of new technology, it’s simply a valid dialectical alternative, though I like the fact that it is so out of step with current practices. But having said that, I am also trying to work out a way to make prints. My first edition is a set of silkscreens. The Islands are poured directly on the screen. It seems that today photo silkscreen is pretty well the universal method.

Robert Linsley, Untitled silkscreen 2012

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