Centre for Fine Print Research University of the West of England Centre for Fine Print Research
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Paul Laidler

Professional Practice

The Printed Reality


Place: Impact Conference, UWE, Bristol UK
Curated By: Paul Laidler
Date: 16-21.9.09
Catalogue ISBN:


The Printed Reality Exhibition presented photographic works by seven different artists within a gallery instillation setting. The exhibition was conceived as a way to begin addressing the era of Photography 2.0 by considering the image and exhibition in the electronic age.
Within the context of a print exhibition and as part of the physical-virtual gallery merger The Printed Reality exhibition dispensed with conventional and established printmaking exhibition formats. There were no artists’ prints or any traditional hanging and framing methods in the show; all images were digitally projected across a 'site' specific structure situated in the gallery. The artists were invited through an online image based community called flickr, where the participant’s work commented upon print as image but with little or no concern for surface tactility, process or materiality. The overlapping of the electronic image and printed presentation in The Printed Reality show was developed as a way to begin thinking about the (physical and virtual) transitions that are affecting museums, galleries and education - toward the production and presentation of digitally mediated artifacts.

The structure in the exhibition was built as a sight specific instillation; in this instance the specificity of the structure referred to a three metre squared section of wall in the gallery space. Prior to the exhibition a series of photographs were taken of the gallery wall and printed on photographic paper using a wide format inkjet printer. The prints were mounted and draped onto rectangular card panels supported by the photographic paper packaging.

The images exhibited in the Printed Reality show were selected from an online image hosting website called flickr. The site functions as an online community where users are able to view and share photographic images within a virtual gallery setting.

The Printed Reality group within flickr presents photographs of photographically recorded prints using the broad themes of Portrait, Landscape and Still Life. The recorded print captured within the photograph presents both image and object as appearance - a marriage of realities that is presented in the Printed Reality Exhibition.
Within each of the artists work the interplay between image and object is not a seamless transition but one of artifice, theatre. Here the photographic image functions as a backdrop, a stage prop positioned and presented in such a manner that we are readily accepting of its fictional role. It is in the recording of the prints relationship to the "real" that the theatrical emanates from within the picture frame. The "real"performance projects from edges and folds that cast both shadows and omit reflections from an external world, a reality not of our own but somewhat more representative of are own.

In keeping with many of the image construction methods from the flickr group the placement and angle of the structure was designed so that features of the real and photographic wall registered with one another. By erecting a three-dimensional form using two-dimensional descriptions the instillation forced viewers into specific vantage points dictated by the cameras monocular vision. Thus reiterating our image constructed perception of reality and a momentary perspective of the two spaces converging.

During the exhibition the Portrait themed images were projected across the structure for five seconds intervals using a continuous loop system. Each image became fragmented traversing one gallery wall onto another alluding to further image and object oscillations.