Since the end of 1989, Michal Macku has used his own creative technique which he has named “Gellage” (the ligature of collage and gelatin).
The technique consists of transfer the exposed and fixed photographic emulsion from its original base on paper. This transparent and plastic gelatin substance makes it possible to reshape and reform the original images, changing their relationships and endowing them with new meanings during the transfer. The finished work gives a compact image with a fine surface structure. Created on photographic quality paper, each Gellage is a highly durable print eminently suited for collecting and exhibiting.
The laborious technology, which often includes the use of more than one negative per image, makes it impossible to produce absolutely identical prints: Each Gellage is an original work of art. The artist does make at least 12 signed and numbered prints of each image.
Michal Macku talks about his work: “I use the nude human body (mostly my own) in my pictures. Through the photographic process [of Gellage], this concrete human body is compelled to meet with abstract surroundings and distortions. This connection is most exciting for me and helps me to find new levels of humanness in the resulting work.
Michal Macků combines in this work his gellages technique with large format historic photographic processes and state-of-the-art technology to create the 3D glass photographs-objects, so called glass gellages.
Karina Smigla-Bobinski, ‘Ada’, a large helium filled ball covered in charcoal nubs. The piece floats gently in space until interacted with by viewers, who can toss the ball against the walls, creating scratchy drawings on the surface of the gallery space. During the course of the exhibition, the walls evolve into a dense collection of scribbles.
Spatial Drawings: Marian Bijlenga’s Textile Structures
Marian Bijlenga’s work defies the usual categories. She makes graphic, transparent structures, but where another might do that with a pencil or brush, she ‘draws’ with thread, horsehair and fabric. It is a surprising combination of drawing and material, and one for which her name is known around the world. Enigmatic signs guide the way to meaning, networks condense back into themselves, rasters vibrate with impromptu encounters and hair-thin lines. The eye is continually spurred on to unravel structures in crisscrossing lines, to make connections amongst fragments that balance perfectly on the edge of chaos.
Textiles were the first art form with which Marian Bijlenga came in contact. In Loenersloot, where she grew up, she knew Herman and Desirée Scholten, both textiles artists. When she studied art at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, textiles were the field she chose. But seeking a more direct approach, she had no interest in the loom. She experimented instead with techniques for knitting and making felts, and began arranging threads dipped in glue. In these works, the motion of the hand is immediately transposed in a rhythmic pattern, a working method closely related to writing. For inspiration, Bijlenga made countless series’ of drawings of handwriting. In the act of writing, she watched how the line crystallized into letters, into words, and again into lines of writing, but she also kept her eye on the white spaces that remained. ‘I make spatial drawings. The wall is for me what a sheet of paper is to someone else,’ she explains. Suspending the flexible textile work a small distance away from the wall, she then adds another dimension. Her patterns become paraphrased in quivering lines of shadow.
Later, Marian Bijlenga began reinforcing her textile structures with horsehair, a material that offered her new visual challenges. These long, thin filaments work for her as crosshatching does for a draughtsmen, creating shadows and a sense of three dimensions. Turbulent lines alter themselves in swirls of eddying water. Stones magically rise up, evoked from angular forms. Wispy lines suggest a face you recognize. The patterns became increasingly complex.
Marian Bijlenga then sought the trail back home, and her work became limited to pure pattern, or to something perhaps even more minimalistic – empty spaces within frames. ‘The dot represents silence and the interruption of a fluid argument,’ wrote Kandinsky in his famous Bauhaus text, ‘Punkt und Linie zur Fläche’, published in 1926. The work of Marian Bijlenga originates in a flowing dialogue between word and act, a continual process of becoming that can be compared to processes of growth in nature. ‘The purpose of theoretical research is to find the life,’ claimed Kandinsky. He would agree that Marian Bijlenga has succeeded in doing that, not through theory, but seemingly with no effort at all.