WOODBLOCK KANDINSKY - The project attempts to bring together the Indian tradition of hand woodblock printing, the oldest and slowest method of printing with modernist abstraction. We collaborated with Mahboob, a traditional woodblock maker in India to hand carve 50 basic geometric shapes (inspired by Wassily Kandinsky's paintings) for making spontaneous, abstract compositions on fabric. The artisan printers, mostly from a rural background, are trained to print in a grid pattern with hand carved wood blocks, a mechanical process done manually. Not accustomed to individual expression, the basic geometric blocks were conceived as a simple way 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.
This last print was printed by Jain&Kriz in a natural dyeing workshop in Bagru. The simplicity / complexity of faces in our Unconscious Collective collection inspired us to try it anew.