On lo(n)gging

New print sculpture of abandoned logging sheds along the Parana river (50 cm x 70 cm), handmade prints on fabriano rosaspina paper, cut and mounted on acid free book covers

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Published
Categorized as Alkali

They were hanging there

newprint2New c-type prints on Japanese awagami paper, 210 cm x 108 cm – photographic negative

The title refers to the fact that new evidence has emerged in recent years stating that islanders in the Delta region of Argentina lived for years during the Dirty War (1976-83) with bodies hanging from trees as military planes dropped them drugged and still alive into the depths of the river below. The ethereal beauty of the place belies its traumatic history.

This piece has been acquired by the China National Art Museum in Beijing, and is currently on show in Intersecting Practice of Contemporary Printmaking in the UK, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou

From the series on the Paraná- micro residencia, Tigre, Argentina

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Categorized as Alkali

Lumina Paraná

Here are some initial combination prints/photoetchings of my research on the Delta, an hour from Buenos Aires. The plates and photographs were taken, exposed and developed on the river (with river water), so that the subject matter of the prints, and their making, create a circular methodology:

VictoriaAhrens_China_Touched_photoetchingplate_2015

 

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Categorized as Alkali

Reversal of Fortunes (2014)

Looking at aspects of landscape as construct and the reversible nature of print, I am working with new combination photo-etchings and digital prints to think through these ideas in a large scale. As my microresidency in Argentina approaches (Parana river workshops and ACE residency) these prints start to work with the physical intervention of place in the image:

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Categorized as Alkali

Home Front at NEO : Print 2014

This piece was chosen for the Neo: Print Prize exhibition 2014 (open till 2nd November)  and received a little mention in: http://www.karenjoyce01.com/blog/the-2014-neo-print-prize:

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“Lots to like here, though I didn’t particularly go for any of the prize prints.  I don’t expect to – I’m never going to be a cutting edge sort of a person, in what I do or what I like, and so what?  My own particular favourite was Barbara Ann Swan‘s ‘DNA Women’ –  I stood in front of it for ages, studying the riveting selection of body parts.  Loved it.  I liked the strips of film way of hanging it, trailing on to the floor, too.

Karen Joyce writes, ‘I also really liked Rosey Prince’s Elephant (with yellow wall) for its lovely combination of saturated colour with obviously black and white, Victoria Ahrens’ rich Home Front, Fiona Grady’s Arcs I-V as they quietly developed across the set, and the non-prizewinning work by Susan Eyre, Paradise Row SW4 for that lovely, sly flash of colour in amongst the shades of grey’

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Categorized as Alkali

Publish/Curate at TJ Boulting Gallery

A review of the show Publish/Curate at TJ Boulting Gallery this August in Photofusion, with a small mention of my work.

Exhibition Review: PUBLISH/CURATE, TJ. Boulting

 

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‘The most notable curated presentation of work in my opinion is the images chosen by Alic Janta, co-editior of Adad Books, where we see a collection of work by different artists, all fitting especially well together. They all seem to have in common the exploration of printing processes and alternative presentation, in a way reflecting the perhaps most visible book in their shop, Far, by Emile Hyperion. Janta has been especially successful with the selection of work by Whitney McVeigh, Victorie Thieree, Victoria Ahrens, David Noonan, and I would have loved to enter Adad Books’ website to see publications by all these artists and more, as a special and unique approach to alternative presentation also in book form.’ Marianne Bjørnmyr

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Categorized as Alkali

Honoré Project, Galerie Rue de Visconti, Paris

Beautifully curated exhibition at Balzac’s Print Rooms in the lovely St Germain arrondissment of Paris. This exhibition that I was asked to show in will now be coming to London, to the TJ Boulting Gallery:

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TRACES, a group show part of HONORE.

This exhibition is taking place in Balzac’s former printing workshop on Rue de Visconti, in Paris and will present the work of artists who have been exploring various techniques such as lithography, photo-etching, collotype, biro-drawing, digitally processed photography, screen-printing, mono-print, photogram, transfer, etc and attempting to get new results, whether they have developed their own process or have kept in line with classical tradition of printing and drawing and who have as a result created interesting textural works.

This show presented alongside exhibitions by Hannah Watson from Trolley Books and Aron Morel from Morel Books, features works by:

ADELINE DE MONSEIGNAT
AKIKO TAKIZAWA
ASGER CARSLEN
AUGUSTIN STEYER
BOO SAVILLE
CHARLOTTE SCHNABL
DAVID NOONAN
ELOISE VAN DER HEYDEN
HUGO WILSON
IVY ARMOUR
TAMSIN RELLY
VICTOIRE THIERREE
VICTORIA AHRENS
WHITNEY McVEIGH and
WILLIAM ROPER-CURZON

Private view: Wednesday 18th June from 7pm.
Thursday 19th – Saturday 21th, noon till 8 pm
17-19 Rue de Visconti, 75006 Paris

The HONORE PROJECT is the brainchild of Laure Flammarion and Pauline Levêque
www.honorevisconti.com
www.ruevisconti-editions.com

Alix Janta-Polczynski
www.adadbooks.com

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Categorized as Alkali

Print Dialogues- solo show at the PELTZ Gallery, Bloomsbury

River Dialogues

crumpledprint1The Fall (2014) Crumpled C-type prints on copy paper from press transferred film stills, 350 cm x 110 cm

PRINT DIALOGUES at the Peltz Gallery, Birkbeck School of Art, 43 Gordon Square, WC1H

1st May- 10th May 2014

2nd May: 4pm artist talk

6th May: 6pm round table discussion with Dr. Gabriel Koureas, Dr. Patrizia di Bello and Professor Paul Coldwell

Print Dialogues is an exhibition of lens-based work by the artist and researcher VICTORIA AHRENS. Her work explores the intersection between photography and printmaking in the depiction of the lost landscape. Working initially from rediscovered analogue snapshots of the river, she reworks the imagery through various screens, questioning the fragmentary nature of memory and the possibility of the ruin in her contemporary print installations.

Supported by Birkbeck School of Art and the History and Theory of Photography Research Centre

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Categorized as Alkali

Printmaking Today, Perfect Purchase

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Article in Printmaking Today: Perfect Purchase, with a review of the Clifford Chance Purchase Prize I won in November 2013. The prize means one of my prints becomes a part of the one of the largest print collections in Britain. It was selected by Emma Stibbon  RA who ‘was impressed with the quality of her print installation. Stibbon said Ahrens’ work ‘alludes to the history of landscape art, the picturesque, but re-invents it into something surprising.’

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Categorized as Alkali

Parana blues (2014)

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Fragments of found photographs from the turn of the century, transferred through the press, then photoetched with blue screen projected onto it- continuing my experiments into the interstices between printmaking and photography, digital and analogue.

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Categorized as Alkali

The Fall (2014)

VictoriaAhrens_TheFall_NorthernPrint_2014The Fall, C-type print on 90 gsm copy paper, folded- shortlisted for the Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2014

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Categorized as Alkali

Clifford Chance show

Clifford Chance Purchase Prize 2013CC Postgraduate Printmaking invitation 2013 2CliffordChance1

Arkadia (2013)C-type Print of press transferred film stills, on copy paper 300 cm x 120 cm

Selected for this show by Nigel Frank to represent Postgraduate Printmaking in London- the show opens on 13th November on the 30th Floor Gallery. Also showing are Paula Bourke-Girgis, Joanna Brinton, Jude Cowan Montague, Hanne Lillee, Leah Miller-Biot, Michael O’Reilly, Yanna Soares, Georgina Tate, Ines Tavares, and Nicola Thomas. I was selected as the Clifford Chance Purchase Prize Winner 2013.

IMG_1252The Lost Exploitation Journals (2013), 300 newspapers, plinth- for the public to take, creates strata that are distributed outside the gallery space

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Categorized as Alkali

Pushing Print 2013

Pushing Print festival in Margate 2013, with exhibitions at the Pie Factory and Margate Gallery. My work was selected for the Pie Factory and I was pleased with the display and feedback. Margate, having never been before, proved to be a quirky place with, as Turner would have us believe, spectacular skies:PushingPrint4

Naipi and Taroba (2013) Projection of waterfall, backwards on hand made book cover

PushingPrint3Casper’s Forest (2013) Transfer print collage on Japanese Shozo paper, completed with found book, shelf

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Categorized as Alkali

Abandum

IMG_1087Arkadia (The Lost Exploitation Journals) 2013

Installation of four digital prints, two projections, 600 newspapers

Although I have worked with this image before, here I was interested in re-fragmenting the piece into its constituent parts. The idea of the banner has an interesting etymology from bandum (Latin), for the cloth that is made into a flag. But it also is the basis of the word abandon which is ‘against the bandum’ or to be disloyal or disobey orders of the flag (of authority)- these banners are, therefore,  banners of abandon. There is a lovely correlation between the initial ideas and the format  in relation to this concept of abandoned spaces/ the political dimension: the history of the use of banners in May Day processions/ by trades unions in the 19th/ early 20th century – where the environment was being changed forever by the industrial revolution, with new mills, factories and mines. The use of banners in commercial printmaking for all kinds of uses also connects the work to both the history of printmaking as well as the its use in contemporary advertising etc- Here the banners allude to the arbitrary division of geographical borders and the loss of the our relationship to the environment. This piece won an award from the Printmakers Council 2013.

award1IMG_1083Installation shot, Abandum Arkadia (2013) banner prints, 600 newspapers and projection, Gaerd (2013)

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Categorized as Alkali

The Lost Exploitation Journals

I have wanted to make a book using some of the images I have been producing during the last year. Here it is- finally finished- The Lost Exploitation Journals. I have created 600 newspapers, and 5 editions in hard back for sale-this is a culmination of ideas using abstracted imagery from film stills, transferring the images through the press and then scanning them to print them onto A3 Fabriano paper. There are small clues throughout that tell you something about its content, small geological phrases and cartographic coordinates- here are a few of the pages:

The Lost Exploitation JournalsThe Lost Exploitation Journals2The Lost Exploitation Journals3

Here is the newspaper version:

newspaperversion1and here is the bound hardback book:

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Categorized as Alkali

Alma

alma3003ALMA- this image is of ‘The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international partnership of Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile, is the largest astronomical project in existence. ALMA will be a single telescope of revolutionary design, composed initially of 66 high precision antennas located on the Chajnantor plateau, 5000 meters altitude in northern Chile.’ (http://www.almaobservatory.org/)

Alma also when read as one word, means SOUL. I thought this was appropriate for my project about the Atacama, where these telescopes hide in the middle of the desert behind a mountain range. I used found images to create a photo etching on two plates. The etching will be part of a series on this technological landscape that is mapping the heavens in an unprecedented way- to find the origins of life and the universe.

These smaller prints are now being turned into a large 100 cm x 70 cm photoetching. Its the largest plate that can go through the presses at Camberwell, and the largest plate I have ever attempted. Just exposing it, and developing it in itself poses all kinds of challenges. I have now started to print them using a velvety black RSR ink- it takes about an hour to ink up the plate and polish it before pulling the print. Here is the process as it happened:

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This print has been the most enjoyable piece for me- hard work in the heat of the Summer in the print workshop, but very satisfying. Tried it on Hahnemule paper at first, but once I put this up against the wall i realized I needed a whiter paper- have now printed an edition of 5 on Fabriano white, which have come out really well.

Published
Categorized as Alkali

Geard (2013)_ii

Photographs through the screen- close ups taken of a projected image on Japanese paper, then turned into prints- second stage of the new project Geard (2013)_ii:

ProjectionONeTrying out different display methods, from projection to digital prints on Hanhemule rice paper- I like the casualness of this display:

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Categorized as Alkali

Geard (2013) _i

Working with old Sony portable monitors to present found footage- the juxtaposition of a garden with its sprinkler (artificial and manmade) and the waterfall (natural sublime)- mediating the mediated image- through the screen- I’m interested in how our viewing of the material changes when the work is presented through a screen:twoscreens1

 

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Categorized as Alkali

Naipi and Taroba (2013)

waterfallphoto1Naipi and Taroba (2013), looped projection onto handmade book cover

In this piece, part of The Day Remains_ii at the Peltz Room Gallery at Birkbeck School of Art (43 Gordon Square, WC1H) I am continuing to work with liminal spaces. The projection of the waterfalls moves in reverse, metaphorically taking the water back to its source. The images refer to the Iguazu basin and part of the waterfalls that create the frontier between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. Some of these have disappeared over time, the Guaira Falls- which were destroyed as part of the Itaipu dam project which now provides most of the hydroelectricity for Paraguay and the south of Brazil. The footage comes from a 16 mil. film strip I found that my grandfather had taken of these waterfalls- most of the footage was in a relatively poor state, yet I was able to extract parts of it and edit them into this imagined narrative. They live on in the memory of those who witnessed them, in a fragmented state, and no longer exist as portrayed. Projecting the piece onto a hand made book cover alters the way it is read- the book cover becomes a small screen and the silent backward movement of the water becomes a device to question our ambiguous relationship with the footage and create a new narrative of the waterfall as a lost space, as a regenerative and nostalgic memory of this place, but also as a place that lives on through its visual representation. The title refers to the Guaraní legend of the origins of the Iguazu waterfalls and the parana river: An important serpent god fell in love with a beautiful Guaraní girl called Naipi and wanted to marry her. She, however, had fallen in love with a strong warrior called Taroba, and decided to elope with him to escape her fate. The god punished her by sending the Serpent king to break up the land on which they travelled, turning the area into cascading, flooding waters. Naipi and Taroba both perished in the waterfalls, with Naipi becoming the water and Taroba a tree. When a rainbow forms the two are reunited. Next to the projection I have placed a found photograph dating back to the 1920s showing two faces bobbing out of the water with a big splash next to them. The face in the foreground is my grandfather, according to a hand written message on the back. He was a keen photographer and was interested in capturing these decisive moments (Cartier Bresson) as an early traveller to the area- the two faces, on first view appearing as rocks in the water, take on the personas of Naipi and Taroba, yet are displaced in time:

dickwater1‘That’s me in the foreground’ (1923), Found photograph, Henry Richard Ahrens

 

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Categorized as Lacuna