This print began with a drawing following a simple set of rules. Starting at the bottom, draw a line of triangles. For each row, I added a new triangle directly on top of the previous one. The triangle on top should contain a similar area to the one below it. Following these rules is straightforward for the first few rows but what happens is that as the drawing progresses, the rules get bent, broken and eventually impossible to follow. As the drawing progresses, some triangles inherit more from the row below and they begin to stretch and push out the triangles on either side. Others become so tiny they disappear. As you reach the top of the drawing, the pattern has become so distorted, that it becomes impossible to draw new triangles on top of the previous ones, leading to difficult decisions being made; to ignore the rules, to deliberately break them, or to stop drawing.
As I was drawing this, I was reflecting on responses to fascism, the way it creeps up slowly, looking normal and being accommodated, but at some point, it requires extraordinary intervention. I’ve been reading Walter Benjamin and Judith Butler, reflecting on his writing. This quote keeps coming back to me. The angel she is referring to is the subject of a monoprint by Paul Klee which Benjamin owned.
“One reason why fascism has a chance is that in the name of progress its opponents treat it as an historical norm”. If progress is a norm of this kind, then it follows that a certain history will, of necessity, produce the future by which it is overcome. It is this belief that is now wrecked, and that wreckage is what the angel clearly sees. No unfolding historical development will overcome fascism, only a state of emergency that breaks with a certain faith in historical development.”
Judith Butler. Parting ways : Jewishness and the critique of Zionism
This intervention isn’t about violence, but something more hopeful.
The shapes I’ve drawn are reminiscent of crystalline structures and I’ve named the print after that. Powerful, captivating but brittle.
The print was made in three layers, the first a blended layer, from Payne’s grey to copper ink – the copper has some sparkle in it which doesn’t show on the photos. Each print will be slightly different because that blended layer looks different each time it’s printed. The second layer is a circle of copper leaf. The third, the detail layer is printed in Payne’s Grey.