Although. Test Prints for the New Arrivals (2010)
Although. Test Prints for the New Arrivals
Screen printed two colour monoprint, rolled monoprint and hand-burnished wood engraving onto pages 16-288, “Iran. Rebirth of a Timeless Empire” (by Rene Maheu, Jean Boissel and Bruno Barbey, Published by Grands Livres, 1976).
304mm x 255mm.
Each print incorporates a unique positioning of the print elements in relation to the particular image and text present on each page, the blending of colours in the screen printed monoprint is also different on each print.
For Although. Test Prints for the New Arrivals arose Chodzko imagined that by chance, or design, various groups using a print studio/print shop having no other paper to use for their technical experiments decide that they must cut the pages from a book that happens to be lying around to be able to carry out these preparatory tests; Its information is considered redundant since it was published three years before the Iranian revolution. These are prints that apparently should be discarded.
A screen printed image is printed (perhaps for a record label, or fabric pattern etc) showing a distorted (melted) logo from the Iranian Space Agency. (There was some controversy (in reality) relating to this logo when there was a recent redesign of the Pentagon’s Missile Defence Agency. It appeared to be fusing Barack Obama’s Campaign logo with the Muslim Crescent Moon and the sign for the Iranian Space Agency.
Further recycling of the pages see tests with a wood engraving appearing, depicting an image of a black sun, black hole, flower or anus.
As individual prints, each collector is getting something more than an identical image mass-produced for a print edition, and yet they are also getting something less; it is a fragment of a whole, which again allows something more to emerge in the imagination; a consciousness of the community who hold the other parts.
Text by artist, curator and writer Gareth Jones, who selected Adam Chodzko for the Cubitt Curators’ Choice edition;
In 1993, when invited to curate an exhibition at Cubitt’s new gallery space in King’s Cross, I knew immediately that I wanted to show the work of Adam Chodzko. Nearly two decades later, he was also my first choice for this portfolio. His approach feels as necessary now as it did then. It’s expected of artists to make fictions from reality, but Chodzko has the ability to make reality feel like a fiction. He makes you wonder what is real.
The exhibition at Cubitt was called Making People Disappear, a title that took the idea of energetic self-promotion – very much in the air at the time – and added a surrealist undertow. Chodzko took over the studio notice board and re-located the day-to-day business of studio life on the walls of the gallery. This simple but perpetually relevant procedure could stand as a modus operandi.
For his contribution to Curator’s Choice, he has worked with the pages of a scenic picture book from Iran in the mid-1970s and envisaged a scenario where a printmaking group has run out of paper and, becoming resourceful, applied their ideas to its pages. It is hard to imagine a work that moves between the Peacock Throne and a wet Wednesday in Whitstable, but Chodzko may have solved that for us. Each print in the edition is unique, a fragment of a larger work that cannot be pieced together.
Over the last twenty years, art empires have risen and fallen and Cubitt has become an enduring model of self-organisation, providing affordable studio space for over thirty artists in central London, alongside a non-profit gallery and an education programme. I became a studio holder this year, and currently chair the Cubitt Gallery Committee, which oversees the appointment of the curator. The success of the gallery, as marked by this portfolio, is also a testimony to the enthusiasm and commitment of the numerous artists who have worked at Cubitt and believed in the idea of an artist-run space.
In 2011 a remaining 47 prints and the source book were used as part of an installation within Scenes from a Marriage [Solo exhibition at Neue Alte Brücke, Frankfurt] (2011)
Although. Test Prints for the New Arrivals’ title contains elements used across much of Chodzko’s practice: Although. as a stray conjunction also appears in the titles; Because... Yet, So…, etc.; the artwork conceived as a link emerging between artist, subject, audience. The connection exists; it just needs the various elements to arrive.
…Test Prints for… ; the artwork perceived as an element in a process, that catalyses something real occurring in the world beyond the work in the near future, features in many of Chodzko’s titles (eg: Test Tone for Landscape (2005), Pattern for a Procession with Two Masks (2007), and Props. For memorising the gravity of mime objects (2011) etc)
…the New Arrivals; the suggestion of a new group or community developing imminently also appears in the titles for Meetings of people with stammers to describe a fire (1999-), We are Ready for Your Arrival (2013), Next Meeting: The car park of the plywood factory, just north of the town of Tolhóin … (2008), etc.