I’ve been working on Nibiru for the last 2 years. It is an artwork made in plaster relief print technique mixed with woodcut technique. It is an enormous project, and actually the biggest on which I have ever worked on. Working on the matrixes took over 20 months, and I used 150 liters of denaturant, 10 meters of jute, 70 meters of cotton paper, and over 550 kilos of ceramic gypsum. It was not only a big project but also expensive.
Working on the project has begun around one year earlier when the first sketches came visible on the paper sheets in the sketchbook. Working at the sketches was very complex, it began with dilemmas over the essential and semantic concepts and finished with crafting the composition structure. Next, I made the photographic session with models, then I prepared several versions of photo collages and in the end, I drew the project based on those photo collages with a graphic tablet.
After a few months, I gained enough confidence to be able to carry out such a large project. I started to create the piece. First of all, I had to mold the gypsum plates. Preparing gypsum plates took over 2 months. In spite of the fact that plates have been strengthened by extra layers of jute inside, they cracked and broke one after another. When the gypsum plates got dry I could start to cut the drawing in them. During the cutting process, I did a lot of changes to the base project.
The next chemical process was about preparing matrixes by hardening with special homemade glue based on synthetic rosin dissolved in liters of denaturant. After applying the glue I had to wait a few months until gypsum plates would be dry – moreover, the atmospheric conditions were not favorable because of winter. A lot of times I had to apply glue for three hours per day at -18 Celsius degree. Gypsum was not able to absorb fluids at this temperature – this is why that process took so long.
When all plates dried out, I could cover the matrixes with a thin layer of offset black ink – then I saw the first visual effects after over six months of work. Perfecting all the matrixes took me another half of a year. Along the way, I made several test prints which let me control the drawing process on gypsum matrixes.
280 x 840 cm, 2017
The last thing to do was to make extra layers in the woodcut technique. Last two months I spent on proper printing of the edition. The printing process was very complex. During the printing process of so large printmaking artwork, I realized that making perfect copies was almost impossible. Copies are similar to each other, but at the same time very unique. It was a priceless experience.