Félagið Íslensk Grafík (einnig kallað Grafíkfélagið) var stofnað í núverandi mynd árið 1969 en var upprunalega stofnað árið 1954. Meginliðurinn í starfsemi félagsins hefur lengst af verið sýningarhald af ýmsu tagi, einkum sýningar á verkum félagsmanna innan lands og utan og útgáfa kynningarrita um íslenska grafíklistamenn og verk þeirra. Það hefur líka gefið út möppur með verkum félagsmanna og þannig stuðlað að aukinni dreifingu grafíklistar. Félagið hefur sömuleiðis staðið að kynningu á erlendri grafík hérlendis. Í félaginu eru í dag yfir 70 listamenn. Þeir einir eru meðlimir sem lokið hafa minnst 4ra ára námi frá viðurkenndum listaskóla og hafa starfað að listsköpun í minnst 2 ár.
Íslensk Grafík rekur sýningarsal og verkstæði í hjarta Reykjavíkur og auðgar félagið menningarlíf landsins sem er opið fimmtudaga – sunnudaga frá kl. 14-18. Íslensk Grafík leggur mikla áherslu á félags og einstaklingsfrelsi í menningarsamfélaginu. Íslensk Grafík er fagfélag myndlistarmanna sem vilja glíma við grafískar úrlausnin á hugmyndum sínum.
Hlutverk félagsins er:
• að vera hagsmunafélag grafíklistamanna
• að stuðla að framgangi grafíklista á Íslandi
• að gangast fyrir samsýningum félagsmanna
• að kynna erlenda grafík á Íslandi, svo og íslenska grafík á erlendum vettvangi
Ágrip af sögu félagsins
Árið 1954 stofnuðu nokkrir myndlistarmenn félagið Íslensk grafík í þeim tilgangi að vinna að kynningu og eflingar grafíklistar hérlendis. Þetta voru Hafsteinn Guðmundsson, Jóhannes Jóhannesson, Jón Engilberts, Jón Þorleifsson, Kjartan Guðjónsson, Benedikt Gunnarsson og Veturliði Gunnarsson. Starfsemi félagsins lagðist fljótlega niður enda félagsmenn fáir og lítil aðstaða til að vinna listgrafík hér á landi á þeim tíma.
Árið 1969 var núverandi félag stofnað undir sama nafni. Aðalhvatamaður þess og fyrsti formaður var Einar Hákonarson. Ekki eru bein tengsl milli félaganna tveggja önnur en þau að nokkrir af meðlimum hins fyrra gengu í hið síðara við stofnun þess. Einnig var tekið upp merki gamla félagsins sem Jón Engilberts teiknaði á sínum tíma.
The Icelandic Printmaker’s Association (also known as the Printmakers Union) in its current form was established in 1969 however it was originally established in 1954. The Association runs its own gallery and studio in the centre of Reykjavik. The gallery is open Thursdays – Sundays 2-6 pm. There are around 70 members who have each been through a professional application process.
The role of the association is:
• To be an organised interest group for members
• To encourage the progress of printmaking in Iceland
• To organise combined exhibitions for members
• To introduce international printmaking to Iceland and Icelandic printmaking abroad
Short history of the association
In 1954 a small group of artists established the Icelandic Printmaker’s Association by aiming to introduce and encourage printmaking in Iceland. These artists were Hafsteinn Guðmundsson, Jóhannes Jóhannesson, Jón Engilberts, Jón Þorleifsson, Kjartan Guðjónsson, Benedikt Gunnarsson and Veturliði Gunnarsson. The activity/operation was soon abolished since the members were few and the facility was poor at that time.
In 1969 the Association was revived and the main initiator was Einar Hákonarson.
There was not much connection with the former association other than some of the previous members joined the new one when it was established. Furthermore the old logo was also revived which the artist Jón Engilberts and one of the member created.
What is Printmaking
Printmaking is the process of making artworks by printing, normally on paper. Printmaking normally covers only the process of creating prints with an element of originality, rather than just being a photographic reproduction of a painting. Except in the case of monotyping, the process is capable of producing multiples of the same piece, which is called a ‘print’. Each piece produced is not a copy but considered ‘an original’ since it is not a reproduction of another work of art and is technically (more correctly) known as an ‘impression’. Printmaking (other than monotyping) is not chosen only for its ability to produce multiple copies, but rather for the unique qualities that each of the printmaking processes lends itself to.
Prints are created from a single original surface, known technically as a matrix. Common types of matrices include: plates of metal, usually copper or zinc for engraving or etching; stone, used for lithography; blocks of wood for woodcuts, linoleum for linocuts and fabric plates for screen-printing. But there are many other kinds of matrix substrates and related processes discussed below.
Works printed from a single plate create an edition, in modern times usually each signed and numbered to form a limited edition.
Prints may also be published in book form, as artist’s books. A single print could be the product of one or multiple techniques.
The story of Printmaking
Printmaking in Iceland does not have a continued long history however it is thought that it had influence here quite early. Besides prints in books, which were a rarity in Iceland, it is thought that in the middle ages there were some popular foreign prints going around. Many of these (prints) have been an inspiration/example for Icelandic prints such as whilst making church arte-facts, in scripts as well as in textiles.
Many people consider that Icelandic printmaking started in the 15th century after some printing tools were imported and then some initials, letters and small pictures were carved for Guðbrandsbiblía which was printed at Hólar in Hjaltadalur. The National Museum of Iceland protects/archives many of these plates with wood carvings which are belived to be made by Guðbrandur Þorláksson bishop. In the 17th century the first Icelandic printmaker, Þorsteinn Illugason Hjaltalín (1771-1871) worked in Germany and then a small number of Icelanders learned the methods of printmaking such as Sæmundur Hólm (1749-1821).
The first Icelanders that went abroad to study or to learn about art around 1900 learned printmaking. However some Icelandic prints were made before 1930. The first Icelandic artist that learned printmaking as a fine art was Guðmundur Einarsson from Miðdalur (1895-1963). He imported the first fine art printmaking press to Iceland and held the first printmaking exhibition in Iceland in 1925.
Information is available about artist’s participation in the printmaking in Iceland. A fairly detailed description can be found in the Association’s 10th anniversary exhibition catalogue written by Aðalsteinn Ingólfsson art historian in 1979.