AUTHOR: S. AMJAD ALI
KARACHI, Nov 15: Considerable curiosity was aroused by the exhibition of prints by Shahid Sajjad that opened this evening at Chawkandi Gallery.
It was the novelty of the method of production rather than the intrinsic quality of the prints that seemed to attract the viewers.
The “plate” in this case was made of plaster of Paris and on this the image was engraved.
Contrary to practice, the ink was not applied to the plate but to the paper which had to be so smooth that the ink could be wiped out from it.
When the “plate” was pressed on the paper, it sucked up the ink from everywhere except from the grooves which had been engraved and which got filled with ink.
The uneven surface of the “plate” created a new impression every time it was pressed on the paper, and so these were really monoprints, which means each was different.
The roughness of the “plate” and the clumsiness of the press by which the impression was produced resulted in an abundance of smudges and blotches which were being honoured by the term texture and presented as a special charm of the prints. Actually, many discerning visitors found it to be a rather messy and depressing feature of the prints.
Certainly, it offered a good way of slurring over the problems of life drawing and indulging in short cuts while depicting the nude females who form the subject of these prints.
ln most cases the hands and feet and face are not drawn, while prominently displayed are the buttocks, belly and breasts.
The simplest to show is the back view of the sitting nude in which just the posterior and the back has to be shown and even the head is avoided by lowering it out of view or stylising it into a little stump.
The only well drawn image is that of the woman with outstretched hands which has been repeated by the artist umpteen times before, in wood carving.
The chief appeal of the exhibition lies in the gimmickry of the new technique but the messy results produced and the depressing prints created hardly recommend it to other practitioners, according to some experienced print makers who visited the exhibition.