As a part of 9th Splitgraphic Biennial six Basque printmakers will present their works in the group exhibition titled Basquegraphia. The exhibition is organised in partnership with Fig Bilbao and Croatian Association of Artists (HULU-Split). The 9th Splitgraphic took place in 2019 and 2020 and for the first time since 2003 there was no juried group exhibition, because of the renovation of the Old City Hall in Split and the current pandemic. So far the 9th Splitgraphic’s programme hosted a solo exhibition by Japanese master printmaker Yoshio Imamura (Salon Galić gallery, October 2019) and this group exhibition. Tenth Splitgraphic Biennial’s programme is already being planned and it will again consist of juried group show and solo exhibitions.
Splitgraphic started a new chapter of collaboration on the international printmaking scene in 2018 with Fig Bilbao, printmaking organisation that takes place every year in Bilbao. In Bilbao Splitgraphic exhibited a curated selection of contemporary Croatian female graphic artists. The collaboration continued in 2020 when Splitgraphic was invited by Fig Bilbao to be a part of the international jury in their Open Portfolio programme for young emerging printmakers. Open Portfolio programme is designed to select and promote young upcoming international artists. This group exhibition Basquegraphia and its artists also stem from Open Portfolio, developing an idea to present new and contemporary Basque graphic art abroad. So, Fig Bilbao will exhibit in Split a selected and carefully curated group of artists and printmakers, and apart from Split the show will take place in New York as well. All the newest ideas and trends in printmaking that are currently happening in studios and workshops of Basque Country are presented in the show.
This is the first comprehensive presentation of contemporary Spanish, that is Basque printmaking on Splitgraphic Biennial, and it opens up an insight into graphic art and creativity of the region, especially into its cultural and historical identity. The exhibition is an overview of a completely new and until now unknown graphic art scene that has a high level of quality and productivity with a different printmaking aesthetic and artistic language, that we did not have the opportunity so far to show on Splitgraphic. Curators from Fig Bilbao have chosen young artists whose graphic oeuvre is a combination of contemporary approach to printmaking, classical graphic techniques, history and tradition of Basque Country seen through variety of their expressions. The idea of Basquegraphia is to put together various artistic approaches to printmaking that show diversity in contemporary printmaking world in Basque Country. Alazne Zubizaretta makes playful surreal graphic art using classical techniques such as etching and aquatint. Eder Sanchez is an architect who in his digitally perfect rendered prints shows strict architectural shapes, which question spirituality. Inaki Elosua is a master of coloristic geometric abstractions on his diptychs and triptychs, while Javier Herrer puts forth imagination and human form. Marta Barragan creates prints in an interesting process of combining etching and melting of zinc or plastic plates. Miriam Gesalaga prints shapes and creates abstract forms fusing different graphic techniques like serigraphy and photo engraving.
Splitgraphic has a long list of collaborations and participations in international biennials, triennials and conferences like in Krakow, Lodz, Vilnius, Guanlan and many others. Through this partnership and cooperation with Fig Bilbao Splitgraphic has started a new important and valuable printmaking adventure with creation, participation and building of new projects and connections on the international graphic art scene, combining it with local cultural associations like Croatian Association of Artists (HULU-Split) organising our fourth mutual exhibition together.
Photographs by Žaklina Antonijević (c) HULU Split