Matrix versus Print

“It is ironical for a self proclaimed printmaker to sell the matrixes separately from the prints in an arts show not unless the print edition is classified ‘unique’ and it came accompanied with the matrix. If the matrix is sold separately as a work of art beit or not at a reduced price, then the purchaser of the prints should be informed and those matrixes shall then by right be regarded as ‘wood carvings’ which in this case is not since the artist did not regard himself as a ‘wood carver’. This wood carving is by right a tool, medium or mode the printmaker uses to create his art and at most times is kept by the printmaker or dispose of since it no longer has meaning after the ‘unique’ copy is sold. The question then arises that if both prints and matrixes are up for sale, which then should a collector collect in this case and which has more value? The logical answer would be the print since that is the ‘end result’ of the printmakers craft and the matrix is but the ‘medium’. But preferably, the collector of the ‘unique’ print should own the matrix also if the printmaker wishes not to keep it. And it is not ethical for the printmaker to sell both the positive and negative separately, each as an artwork by itself. Moreover whoever owns the matrix could summon for multiple re-edition of prints made without the knowledge and consent of the printmaker or the owner of the unique print. And this, the ignorant collector should by right be informed as it lends concerns towards authentication issues.

If one looks back at the history of printmaking, the craftsmen doesn’t sell their matrixes. And in each artwork, there are as many matrixes as there are colors encountered.The key point to know about matrixes is that it is technically not ‘the’ work of art although many may admire its reverse intricacy and it will not appreciate in value or have a value equivalent to the print from which it is printed from provided in due course, the unique print is unintentionally or intentionally destroyed, went missing or disposed of for whatever reasons. In the last case the matrix can acquire antique value with collectors of matrixes which is rare or museums of printmaking provided the printmaker is highly regarded in the printing world.

The next question that beckons interest is can collectors add value to a series of prints that he deliberately purchased and then have them destroyed to reduce the edition number? The answer is yes. Scarcity adds value to the print concern provided the matrix held by the artist is also destroyed. But that act should preferably be staged as a public performance known to the art community. It must also be remembered that the act of destroying cannot be constituted as an element or trajectory of the print provided the artist is physically involved in the process. That act itself also does not lend new meaning to the original intention it was meant as a print neither does that act transforms it into conceptual art or makes the collector the artist of that print.

There is a tendency for collectors to want to add value to his collection by this act. But generally not unless he is the sole owner of that print, and provided it is a work from a notable printmaker.”

Fiveloaf 2014/2019

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