Dry Point

etching on vinyl bütten paper 43 x 43 cm

Ongoing project since 2014

Katrin Süss adhered to the classical technique of dry-point etching when she created her circles, but made the pointed tool meet up with 20th century storage media. CDs, DVDs and LPs served as printing plates and had HTML commands, poetry and prose etched upon them. New York friends of her art thought it a sacrilege when they learned that she processed works by the Beatles as they considered these records to be sacred. But it has turned those prints into highly special and unique works. By now, they call one of these rare copies their own.

While CDs are a suitable print medium, LPs only provide one or two usable prints. The printer Jochen Lorenz from Obergrabenpresse had the special touch that was necessary to wrest usable results from these unconventional printing plates. Their whole appearance makes them clearly identifiable as records – even a few grooves remain visible – and remind the viewer of golden records, awarded in the music business. The etched texts, symbols, concert reviews and journalistic essays about music – appear as a mixture between relief and gravure print while the background oscillates in various shades of grainy grey and white.

The etchings made on CDs expose their image more readily: black icons on a white background, perfectly legible. The graphics that were created on the island of Lanzarote are more enigmatic. The dark discs, partially brittle looking, resemble the lava rocks that dominate the Canary island and are a tribute to César Manrique, who used to work there. Other than most tourists, the artist, architect and environmentalist, who died in 1992, perceived his homeland as a wild, vibrant and beautiful landscape, to which he added several attractions. The most characteristic feature of his work is the integration of rocks, stones and solidified streams of lava into a harmonious living space. The colours black, grey and white are frequently used. Süss was especially impressed by Manrique’s residential home, erected in five lava bubbles, that houses the Fundación César Manrique foundation. The subterranean caverns open up to the sky and even have trees growing out of them. This is echoed by Süss’ Lanzarote CDs that likewise lead from darkness into the light in their centres.

The point is not the perfunctory content of the silver discs but their shape, which is thousand of years old. Superficially, they form a circle as the carrier of a permanent image. Their ability to reveal or store an enormous amount of information appears to be secondary. The ancient form as a constant seems to brace itself against the volatility of invisible icons. — Susann & Ulf Krüger