WOODBLOCK KANDINSKY - The project attempts to bring together the eastern craft tradition of hand woodblock printing, the oldest and slowest method of printing with the western modernist abstraction. Inspired by Kandinsky, the traditional woodblock carvers in India were asked to hand carve numerous basic geometric shapes to be used for making spontaneous, abstract compositions on fabric. The traditional printers in India, mostly from a poor, rural background, are trained and accustomed to printing in a grid pattern with hand carved wood blocks, a mechanical process done manually. Since the printers are not skilled in visual expression, the basic geometric blocks are conceived as a simple way for them to experiment with an alternative, more playful approach to form, color and image-making. Through a series of workshops, the project hopes to eventually result in each printer's / artist's own individual expression as a small step towards self exploration and empowerment.
The first set were hand printed by Krystof Kriz, a photographer as an expressionist abstraction of his travel experience to / through India. The abstract landscapes allude to the topographic views from the flight on his way from Europe to India, the hot sun of Jaipur, maps, rivers and borders.
Subsequently, the first workshop was done with a group of 12 rural women printers called Bagru Bhabhis in Rajasthan who are part of a larger initiative called Imprinted Story by Petra Gupta Valentova.