Paul Coldwell
University of the Arts,
London, United Kingdom

Paper: “The Condition of Print”

This paper builds upon an article to be published in the summer edition of Printmaking Today, where I consider a broad range of issues which I feel are relevant for both printmakers and printmaking, amongst these being the importance of events where printmakers can show their work in a critical international context, the biennial being the most obvious.

On a local and national level, there is often a reluctance within the printmaking community to open itself up to external scrutiny, opting instead for internal validation with exhibitions tending to representing a general broad spectrum of activity, rather than presenting a clear attitude. Printmaking organisations are very good at raising awareness of the craft of print and supporting printmakers but their often democratic nature can sometimes be a factor in keeping printmaking marginalised, with the focus being centred on technique rather than intention. The biennial has a vital role in generating a more critical and diverse opinion and provides an international perspective against which the work can be viewed. In addition International Biennials and can also serve as a reminder of the very different cultural value placed upon print throughout the world. However, there is now an issue as to the degree that these events actually reflect the current diverse practice in printmaking, or whether through their entry requirements, and restrictions, perpetuate the idea of print as being the limited edition single image.


PAUL COLDWELL studied Fine Art at University of West England and the Slade School of Art. Since 1994 he has taught at Camberwell College of Arts (University of the Arts London) where he is now Professor and Postgraduate Programme Director. His inaugural lecture in 2005 Finding Spaces between Shadows was published by the Camberwell Press ( He is also project Leader for FADE (Fine Art Digital Environment) a practice based research project with Camberwell and Chelsea College of Art & Design. He is a Sculptor and Printmaker, engaged with the integration of digital technologies within fine art practice, who has exhibited widely. Solo shows include Recent PrintsEdinburgh Printmakers (2005), and Case Studies London Print Studio, London & Queens Gallery, New Delhi, India (2002). Recent group exhibitions include Beyond The Digital Surface, Ewah Gallery, Seoul.(2004) ,International Print Triennial, Cracow ,4th Egyptian International Print Triennale Cairo (2003) and Digital Responses  Victoria & Albert Museum, London (curator & exhibitor) 2002-3. He is currently curating Morandi; Themes in British Contemporary Art, Abbot Hall & Estorick Collection for 2006. His work is in numerous collections including Arts Council of England, Birmingham City Museums, British Museum Imperial War Museum, MOMA New York, Museum of the Book, Holland, New York Public Library, Tate Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum. He has written extensively on Paula Rego including the catalogue essay for her Print Retrospective in 2005 and a chapter in The complete Graphic work. TG Rosenthal, Thames & Hudson. He has contributed to many international conferences including Impact I & II, PixelRaiders (Sheffield), International Print Symposium, Cortona and Digital Aesthetics  Harris Museum. In 2004 he was guest artist in residence at the Scuola Internationale di Graphica in Venice.