Anna Pajak on Printmaking

In my art, creation emanates from the voices that are not included in the patriarchal representation of language, words, and thematics. I am working within worlds of images with an underlying narrative, often gathered from literature or art history. Painting happens within the fluctuation of time. A relation emerges between surfaces — those that are painted, and those that will be painted — but this also happens in flux with times and bodies. I view my works as a conversation between myself and women from different times. They are present everywhere; in the obvious places, and sometimes in the more fading, barely noticeable ones. A starting point can be a physical state translated into the visual. Here, I merge colours, symbols, and perspectives. In dialogue with modernist female painters, spiritualism, and dreams, I deconstruct and reconstruct the images to challenge traditional contexts and interpretations. Through the large scale of my works, I try to give the beholders a feeling of another dimension in life; a reality approaching dream and fiction. Within my different artistic media, movements between the concrete and the abstract are woven together to reclaim the imaginary.

During my years at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm (2015—2020), I participated in all the printmaking courses that were offered, due to the lack of a workshop. After a fire in the Institute’s Graphic Arts building in 2017, the school decided not to invest in a new printmaking workshop. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to visit the Tamarind Institute of Lithography in New Mexico, participate in an etching course and a photopolymer course in Helsinki at KUVA, as well as contribute to an etching course at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.

Thanks to printmaking, I had the opportunity to lift myself out of my own methods and to be thrown into a new craft and medium that would change my whole artistic expression. To me, printmaking has been a way of working with more controlled spaces, where the lines are given as much room as the colour. Working with paper gave the images a spontaneity and a playfulness that is difficult to recreate in the oil painting. Through working with printmaking, I develop new visual solutions; I translate my paintings to prints and vice versa. It has become a new way for me to think about how images are built up. Printmaking has become a poetic and visualising toolset — giving me a deeper understanding of the painterly field, as well as my whole artistic practice.

In 2021, I received the QSPA Inspirational Award. This gave me additional opportunities to dive deep into the field of printmaking and to work at Universal Limited Art Editions in Long Island, outside of New York City, for five days. This was a unique and unforgettable journey, where I got the chance to work with ULAE’s Master Printers. During these days we created the work Chromophobia, a lithography printed with an offset press. I also created my first monotypes that week, and they are now on display in the exhibition here at Queen Sonja Print Award, Bispevika.