In the 1927 film Metropolis, Maria captivates the workers through libidinous behaviour and leads them in a destructive orgy until, fearing for their families, they turn against her. Bound and burning, unrepentant, she is revealed to be a robot, a doll, a false prophet manipulated by the ruling class. The true Maria defends her honour on the cathedral roof until rescued by the hero.

This corny myth could be used to signify the whole history of the 20th century and from any perspective.

My aim was to deconstruct the lino printmaking process to reflect the destruction of the robot. I experimented with sprinkling the block with a little finely crushed salt but this near completely prevented transfer of ink to the paper. I also worked into the paper with white conte crayon, which works well as a resist with watercolour, but this failed to inhibit printing of the water-based, but much thicker, printing pigment. So I resorted to cutting back into the lino, extensively removing the image, then rebuilding it in gorilla glue. Activated with water, this adhesive froths and expands before drying. I sliced it level with the lino leaving a minutely cratered printing surface. I cut back into this to restore some of the lines. I varied the inking and pressure to get different effects.

8 responses to “Deconstruction

  1. These are excellent. The process shots have also doubled up as a storyboard. She certainly looks as if she is going up in flames. Your use of the glue is intresting. Were you filling gaps with it or sticking back in bits of carved out lino? I too find the lino printing process compelling and you’ve really taken it to another level here.

    • That’s interesting. I had not spotted the storyboard thing. That’s a great idea to do deliberately. The glue is partly repair, but minimally so. At the top of the lino I miscut and attempted to stick back some lino shreds. But the rest is using glue itself to create a new printing surface, more porous less smooth than the lino. But really, I need to get cleverer in cutting to create effects. The nice thing about lino Is it’s so easy to do at home, a great technique with little equipment needed.

      • Yes, if I understand right, etching gives both finer lines and you are working positively, your cuts are the lines. It’s a whole different way of thinking. Here I am having to think through my negative spaces and textures to use absence as the drawing. That’s the fascination. I’m working today from a photo of two women with brilliant hair, one permed one like a natural mane, one wearing a large bead necklace, then other a huge coarse weave jumper. It’s a great source for textures.

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