Printmaking purists, brace yourselves, this entry is for once not about Renaissance prints, but about a rather contemporary fringe of the printmaking world, something we called “concrete monotyping" while working on it.
A huge public commission by Finland-based Swedish artist Tomas Byström, a 450sqm facade for a school in Tampere.
The design is drawn by the artist into the mould for casting the concrete elements, using a special retarder, the yellow lines in the first picture, that will “etch” into the concrete, preventing it from setting. Then the concrete is poured into the mould, reinforcing steel bars are added and all that. The concrete is a special mixture, using black stones as an aggregate, and rather fine white cement.
Once the element is cast it sets overnight, then taken out of the mould and waterblasted, removing the concrete that was prevented from setting by the retarder, and the drawing appears, lines etched a certain depth into the concrete, showing black because of the stones used to make the cement.
A crucial point in the production of these elements was the registration between elements to ensure line continuity, proper angles and all that. I’m thrilled to have played a part in the making of, the first photo shows Tomas Byström and me working on an element, the second photo shows one of the smaller elements after wash-out, the third photo shows the current state of construction in the Vuores area in Tampere, with all the triple checking for registration paying off beautifully.
All photos (c) Tuula Lehtinen.
More concrete related prints from Finland:
(They screenprint on the concrete while it sets, among other things - and in the case of retarders, also before)
Too obvious, but still: