… And where can we find the truth in the modern printmaking? In the idea of the printed paper only? I believe that modern printmaking has the right to be involved with the present day plastic problems that regard art today. That means that we can perceive printmaking with a much wider spectrum of that, of what we used to perceive it before. For example, we use to say that the printed paper was our goal and we use to leave apart everything that was concerning the matrix-plate. A tremendous amount of work was done upon the matrix surface, but it did not valid at all. We did not take to consideration our personal pleasure working on the plate and we focused only on the printing process, since what we did on the plate surface had no other aim but to prepare it for the final step, the printing process. Evidently we left apart all the plastic values that are hidden in the plate, representing the material and its plastic behavior that even gives the name to the different classic printmaking techniques.
   Almost twelve years ago I started using the plexiglass as the proper material for my dry-points. Its’ transparency inspired me of the fight between oblivion and memory. What we carve, etch or engrave resists more to the degradation and destruction of time. So, printmaking in a way serves the idea of memory. Starting from this axiom I regard the printed paper as the tangible memory of the printing action. The plexiglass can be used to construct a three-dimension cube, a safe, where the print can be put and protected to the infinity. This is the key step that I used for the evolution of my recent work. The first series was called “memory safes”, and it was a whole of transparent cubes that contained the tangible memory of the engraving action, stemed from the plexiglass plates. Later on, I used the transparency's qualities to avoid the use of the press machine. In order to have an edition, I placed on the vertical sides of a transparent cube two mirrors. Between them I installed an engraved, inked transparent plate. The two mirrors multiply the idol of the transparent plate to the infinitive. So, we have in a “memory safe” concentrated the ideas of the engraving action, the printing action and the edition without the use of the press machine.
   Then, the next step was the elimination of the printing process. And this was achieved by using once more the plexiglass transparency as the key factor for the composition. The use of the press machine was replaced by the activity of the light. A beam of electric light passes through the transparent engraved and inked plate and projects vertically the shadow of the plate traces on the surface of a white paper, placed on the bottom of a plexiglass made cube. Finally the cube becomes the vital space where the plastic “scenario” is realized.
   After this stage I went on combining the digital print with the essential printmaking technique: the dry-point. This time the engraved and inked cube was put under shallow waters. The sunlight passes through and its deflection creates a completely unforeseen situation that the human eye could not captivate. The use of an analogue small camera revealed the physical phenomenon that took place. Slides were shot, scanned and then printed digitally. Now we have the idea of the engraved matrix and the idea of printing that does not correspond to the matrix. An artistic action (the engraved, inked plate, placed underwater) is combined with a physical phenomenon (the light deflection), witnessed by the use of a camera and finally gives birth to new aesthetic phenomenon performed by the digital print.
   All these thoughts were stimulated by the strong belief that the internal aesthetic forces of printmaking were not explored yet, since printmaking was always after painting, the reproduction and the artistic edition of a painted image.
   Closing this text I wanted to make a small statement concerning printmaking and it’s perception. I say that every one of us has done unconsciously printmaking. The wounded, bloody knee of a child is the matrix and the gaze of the wound is the print. With this wide horizon, where printmaking has the right, not only to be involved with present day aesthetics, but to create its own I arrived to these thesis, always respectful to the idea of a matrix and its tangible memory: the print.

                                                                                    Xenophon Sachinis
                                                                       Professor of Printmaking
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
December 2009