19 Apr 25 Years: Parallels and Atelier Maser
Parallels is the first collaboration between the National Print Museum and Atelier Maser. A vividly contemporary print work, rooted in history and traditional craft, it calls up a vision of Ireland where freedom and opportunity are the rights of all.
Invited to collaborate with the Museum for their 25th year, Maser chose as his starting point, the 1916 Proclamation and the craft of letterpress printing, both central aspects of the Museum’s history. The single most important printed document in modern Irish history, the Proclamation was, and remains, a remarkable text in its aspiration, idealisation and courage. Going back to the document today still provides a strong message of ambition and hope for the people of Ireland.
“There is a real grounding in rediscovering our national heritage, and I get a strong sense of recognition in the values the Proclamation talks about. I wanted to honour and respect the original document, but as a living breathing call for hope and action for Ireland today.”
The project has been supported by the Decade of Commemorations Fund, with Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin T.D. commenting:
“I am delighted to support this really exciting collaboration between the National Print Museum and acclaimed Irish artist, Maser. My objective, as the Minister responsible for leading the Decade of Centenaries commemorative programme, is to create interesting and imaginative opportunities that encourage people of all ages to explore our shared history, in all of its complexity, in a respectful and supportive environment.
Artistic and creative endeavours are so important in commemoration, and this project presents a timely opportunity to reflect on the values and principles that drove the men and women of 1916 to make the choices and sacrifices that they made; and to imagine what kind of a life we wish for the generations who will come after us, grounded in the enduring message and ideals of the 1916 Proclamation.”
The personalised series will launch online on 25 June 2021. www.maserart.com/shop
Carla Marrinan Funder, Director of the National Print Museum, said, “Maser has chosen an excerpt from the 1916 Proclamation that is still relevant today – and which we hope will resonate with people from all walks of life. Its message – “…now seize that moment” is particularly poignant at this time of great uncertainty and where hope has never been needed more.”
The essence of the project was to create an artwork which calls on history to collaborate with the present. In so doing, Maser has uncovered a series of ‘parallels’ which celebrate the collaboration of past and present, of traditional processes and new, and finally, that of artist and printer.
In the resulting artwork, entitled Parallels, Maser has created an overlay of hand-set type and visual impressions, which are inspired by the processes used by the printers of the Proclamation. Each individual print has been hand pulled in-house at the National Print Museum by letterpress printer Mary Plunkett, whose grand uncle, Joseph, was the youngest of the seven signatories of the Proclamation. Plunkett will print the artwork on the Museum’s Vandercook proofing press using wood type from the National Print Museum’s collection and Maser’s newly created forms. Due to the handcrafted nature of the letterpress printing process, each print will be unique – and signed and numbered by Maser.
Talking about the process Maser said, “My work has always combined digital design with physical works. In the past I’ve almost had an impatience to get to the finished piece, but I’m getting more and more interested in the value of time, and digging into the process more. Exploring the tangibility of print flexes an old skillset from my training in college, and using original machines and original wood type like this creates unique textures, almost flaws, in each individual edition. Embracing those flaws is important.”
“The National Print Museum has a different approach to heritage than most museums, seeking to preserve the craft of printing by encouraging visitors to use the original machines in our working collection. There’s a strong parallel here to Maser’s act of preserving the Proclamation by using it, inviting people to seek relevance in it for today.”
– Carla Funder Marrinan, Director.
This new work is being made available by Maser in a strictly limited edition as a celebration of Irish art and heritage, and a way for people to directly support and preserve the creative arts in Ireland during a time of uncertainty. Supporting this project will contribute to the preservation of the traditional craft of printing and the continuation of creative opportunities for artists in Ireland.
The National Print Museum, as an institution rooted in the cultural fabric of Ireland, and Atelier Maser, a self-established independent contemporary art gallery, both seek to support and showcase the wealth of creativity in Ireland through exhibitions, events, collaborations and support.
The limited edition of 200 standard prints and a deluxe edition of 30 hand embellished by Maser range from €190 to €450. www.maserart.com/shop
Watch the short film documenting Parallels: