Frans Masereel Centre is a place where national and international artists, researchers and graphic designers reside, meet and experiment.

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2460 Kasterlee, BE

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Residencies '19 - '20

Maria Blondeel

Shadow copy as reality.

During my career as an artist I closely experienced the transition from analogue to digital imaging and sound formation. I constantly make cross-overs between old and new, visual and auditory media. My works of art are somewhere inbetween the different media. I use media in which the photographic, fading images are 'fixated in time' as works of art over and over again. I use technology to (re)produce my ephemeral works through time. In my work "36 blueprints", 36 blueprints were scanned and printed once by inkjet printer, in opposition to my works for silkscreen where one blueprint becomes the cliché for an edition non-identical prints.
Nevertheless, I think of the digital (r)evolution as a complex and hermetic process. The culture philosopher Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) predicted that the expanding possibilities of the reproduction techniques would change the observation, the aesthetic experience and the social function of the work of art and by doing so also the role of fine arts. Where a simulacrum (work of art) in Plato's ontology would still be a copy (eg. my print) of a copy of reality that is true to nature (eg. my blueprint), the copy becomes a new image that has no ties to the original in Baudrillard's context. (following John Storey in “Cultural theory and popular culture: an introduction” 2001).

Today, philosopher Peter De Graeve quotes André Malraux in his book "Gilles Deleuze and the materialism" (2012) and writes: "...That aesthetic experience is not so much related to the accordance between original and copy, as Benjamin thought, but with the crystallization of 'time' into a piece of matter (the work of art). The aura of time doesn't get lost because of the ever growing file of image copies. (...) This shows that the work of art doesn't loose its auratic force by means of modernism, as Benjamin fears, but that this force is a direct consequence of it."

In my work, I introduce the copy in the art historical frame, which gives the 'reproduction' a place amongst the 'expressions of art'. My goal is not to copy a reality or to reproduce a new image for an indefinite number of times, but to research the transformation from one copy to another. How does a created copy come about? When does a copy become a work of art?
With a scanner, a computer and a printer and ink, you can print a 'work of art' at any moment of the day, scan it again and print it. The 'copying' of digital files is, in itself, a hermetic and endlessly repeatable process. The copies are always identical and the rendition gives the same image or sound, like in my sonificated images. The necessity to stock an edition disappears, one can reproduce when there is a need.
On the other hand, a copy machine and scanner register and carry along every alteration of an original. Two scans of the same blueprint that are made at different times will both be an exact colour copy of the true blue of the original, but mutually, they will no be exact colour copies. The paradox of the blueprint is that it gets is shape by light, but that light is also the cause of its discolouration.

The practice

In the silkscreen workshop of Frans Masereel Centrum, I worked with image material from my "Hageland" project I realized in 1998 for Speelhoven98. I started from the photogrammes on blueprint paper I exposed back then in a field in open air. The sun projected the drop shadow of the grass onto the blue print paper.
Next to this, I also worked on another project with material from my recent sound and video projects. For making the films of the video stills sequences I used digital plan printing.

“Gras” (photos 1 & 3) is a silkscreen on textile for a pillow case of a sound object. I exposed a blueprint (photo 2) (size 50 cm x 70 cm) directly onto the UV-sensitive emulsion on the screen. The non-exposed parts on the screen will let the ink through in the dark and contrasting zones of the image. This creates an image reduction in which the contours are granular and irregular. The silkscreens are the green of grass, the ink was mixed after a colour sample of grass.

“Gras diapositief A24” (photo 4) is a silkscreen on paper. I started from a blueprint that was photocopied onto a transparant sheet in 1998, a overhead slide (photo 5) (laserprint, size 24 mm x 36 mm). I scanned this laserprint-slide at a high resolution. The image grain in the reproduction comes from the structure of the toner (fine graphite powder) of the laser print. In Photoshop the image layers shadows and highlights were split into two partial images. These were printed as a 1 bit bitmap on two transparent films for silkscreens. The colour of the ink was mixed based on the colour index (0-255) of a discoloured blueprint. Every 3 to 5 prints double prints were made with a dyed ink colour. In the edition of 40 not one is identical.


Maria Blondeel is a visual artist and works in Sint Amandsberg. She is a photographer, but is more well-known for her sound art. In 1986, Maria Blondeel started with an idiosyncratic collection of "blueprints". Triggered by the New York intermedia scene, she experimented with lightsensitive chemicals, electronic sound generators, stereography and stereophony. Her artistic practice is situated in the domain of the intermedia, installation art and sound art. She worked with musicians and composers Mary Jane Leach, Jerry Hun, Guy De Bièvre, Johan Vandermaelen, Michael Vorfeld, Sam Ashley en Bettina Wenzel. Together with the American intermedia artist Phill Niblock, she founded the Ghent based Experimental Intermedia vzw (1993-2003) and organized several intermedia exhibitions. Maria Blondeel resided in Artist In Residence Isola Comacina (I) 2013; Elektronisches Studio Audiokommunikation TU Berlin, Berlijn (G) 2012; Medienwerk-nrw Düsseldorf (D) 2010; FLACC Genk (B) 2008; Spritzenhaus Hamburg (D) 2001; ACAC Aomori Contemporary Art Center (Jap) 2000 and Experimental Intermedia New York (USA) 1994. At this moment, collaborates on the research project "The artistic extended optical flow" led by Noël De Buck at the School of Arts, KASK, Ghent. The research focuses on themes as embodied performative space/spatiality, sonification and mapping. Maria Blondeel previously worked at Frans Masereel Centrum in 2012.

General Residency
16.09.2013 - 25.10.2013


1. GRAS. Silkscreen on pillowcase for soundpillow. Maria Blondeel 2013

2. GRAS. Blueprint. Maria Blondeel 1998

3. Sunlight for Lawngreen Sound Pillow with golden emergency blanket and yellow Gerberas. Sound object. Silkscreen on textile. Maria Blondeel 2013

4. GRAS diapositief A24. Silkscreen. Maria Blondeel 2013

5. GRAS. Overhead slides. Maria Blondeel 1998

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