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While walking through the National Gallery recently, I noticed several paintings that I had first seen many years ago. They seemed strangely familiar, like places one remembers from childhood only because of some inconsequential detail.

One such painting was a 16th century portrait of a tailor by Giovanni Battista Moroni. The last time I had seen it was thirteen years ago, while visiting London on holiday. The portrait had struck me then because of the immediacy of the tailor’s mischievous expression, which seemed to suggest he had momentarily looked up from his work-table, upon hearing some witty remark. The portrait was also brighter and more colourful then; the shiny-eyed tailor wore a vivid yellow coat with dark blue trimmings. A dark purple satin fabric and sewing equipment were lying on the table.

Now though, the painting looked very different. Although the tailor’s life-like expression was still there, the mischievous look was gone and replaced by a more stern, almost challenging expression. His coat had changed colour to a grey-ish beige and the blue trimmings had disappeared. The fabric on the table had now turned black and all the sewing equipment except for a pair of scissors was gone. The image looked like a faded photocopy of a colour-saturated photograph. It was hard to reconcile the two images; it was as if there were two paintings.

During all those years the image of the other tailor had been stacked away in my memory’s archive and if someone had mentioned the work to me, that initial image is what I would have called to mind. And if someone asked about its colours I would have said bright yellow and dark purple, convinced that those were the actual colours. And in a sense, they were the actual colours of the painting during all those years in which I didn’t see the painting and couldn’t juxtapose the memory with the actual painting. If we remember something as being bright yellow, isn’t it bright yellow?

The discrepancy between the painting and my memory of it partly has to do with the fact that when the image was stored somewhere in memory’s archive it began to change on its own, influenced by all the other portraits, tailors, and paintings I had seen since then.

But perhaps it also has something to do with how we see. It is usually said that a memory is incomplete, that memory fails to register all the sensory input available. Memory is selective, but what this notion seems to assume is that there is an all-encompassing viewpoint from which we experience the world– that once we are face-to-face with something, we have it there before us in its totality and in its truth: that it is all there before us and all we have to do is look and we will instantaneously see and experience everything there is to see and experience.

But does such a comprehensive viewpoint exist? This notion doesn’t convey the gaps in perception and the connections forged during the actual process of seeing. We may be looking at a painting before us, but its colours intertwine with our own emotions, the facial expressions in portraits partly mirror our own state of mind, the figures compared with those familiar to us, the places portrayed tinged with references to places we know. A shadow in the background may be overshadowed by a patch of sun in the foreground, while the steamship on the horizon may sail away in plain sight from beneath our gaze.

It seems that when we look at something, we see it in a very particular and non-comprehensive way, selecting certain details while discarding others, making certain connections while not making others. We see and experience selectively, on the one hand overlooking and on the other acquiring connections between that which is before us and that which is within us: loosing whole narratives, forms, figures, faces, gestures, shapes, colours while fabricating others.

What memory encodes then, is this collection of connections and mis-connections. So we can’t blame memory for being incomplete if the nature of seeing is itself partial, never allowing for an all-encompassing viewpoint.

Although there is no all-encompassing viewpoint, what there is to be seen and experienced can never be exhausted. There is always more to see. But this process takes time. If we look and continue to look and continue to look and continue a while longer, things reveal themselves in ever different configurations, as if each glance opened another Chinese box onto a different reality, each one just one among an infinite array of all the possible ways of seeing and experiencing something. An array that seems to mirror, even if asymmetrically, each person’s archive of individual memories. An archive that manages to fit entire alphabets of broaches, coaches, dyes, eyes, flies, gills, hills, iotas, jotas, kitchens, lichens, mittens, nesters, oysters, posters, quotas, rotas, sailors, tailors, uranium, vanadium, by-ways, x-rays, Yen and Zen into its endless cabinets.

With so much on the walls at the RA Summer Exhibition it is always pleasing to get a mention in the media. Here Spoonfed spot it, get it, like it:

Eddie Farrell’s black stencilled Credit Crunch on a flattened Corn Flakes box and the drunken Escheresque style of Neil Pittaway’s etching of Westminster station, come as welcome light relief. And from here on out doolally seems to be the operative word as somewhere behind me a woman yelps, rousing images of the Suffragette that went ballistic on a Henry James portrait at the 1914 Summer Exhibition.

Read the whole review here, and we recommend you do; these people write good prose!

PrintWeek have run a story on HFP and our friends at Print Club London taking part in the RA show here

East London screen printer and book publisher Henningham Family Press (HFP) has had two of its screen print works selected for the prestigious Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.

Its collaborative pieces ‘Credit Crunch’ and ‘The nth Convention’ were picked out from 12,000 entries to be exhibited alongside around 1,200 works at the event, which is the world’s largest open submission contemporary art show and features prominent artists such as Tracey Emin and Richard Deacon among more unfamiliar names.

The nth Convention (425) is on display in Room I at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. It is in a vitrine with the other artist’s books on display.

Click here to see a PDF document showing the slipcase and other pages from the book

The nth Convention
Julie Rafalski, David Henningham and Tahu Deans
Edition of 30
Screenprinted artist’s book in cloth covered slipcase
27 pages
26cm x 26cm
£410

Purchasers can approach the Summer Exhibition sales desk in the vestibule at the exhibition, or contact them on 0207 300 5683

Julie Rafalski, Tahu Deans and David Henningham re-enacted Cold War psychic drawing experiments in a Leipzig building that had formerly housed an East German supercomputer. They also reconstructed the computer as a set to be reconfigured and photographed.

These pictures, films, drawings and transcripts make up the content of this book. Operating like the distinct CMYK dots that merge optically to form a full-colour picture, the artists have worked together to take the viewer through corridor spaces, doctored photographs, and a psychic spying apparatus redolent of the building itself. Not every page is accessible without the use of a knife.

The books are editioned using a vector-based system so that each book is assigned a non-hierarchical relationship to the others.

ulie Rafalski, Tahu Deans and David Henningham re-enacted Cold War psychic drawing experiments in a Leipzig building that had formerly housed an East German supercomputer. They also reconstructed the computer as a set to be reconfigured and photographed. These pictures, films, drawings and transcripts make up the content of this book. Operating like the distinct CMYK dots that merge optically to form a full-colour picture, the artists have worked together to take the viewer through corridor spaces, doctored photographs, and a psychic spying apparatus redolent of the building itself. Not every page is accessible without the use of a knife. The books are editioned using a vector-based system so that each book is assigned a non-hierarchical relationship to the others.

Credit Crunch by Eddie Farrell and Henningham Family Press is on show in the Summer Exhibition (167) in room II. They are black screenprints on flattened cereal packets.

Edition of 70
£165 framed
£65 unframed

Purchasers can approach the Summer Exhibition sales desk in the vestibule at the exhibition, or contact them on 0207 300 5683

Click here to see a PDF document showing details of all 70 copies available in the edition

This same document will be emailed to purchasers of the Credit Crunch at the Royal Academy so they can make their selection, as cereal packets vary.

The most advanced print technology in the world is used to make food packaging, rather than fine art prints. We are surrounded by amazing print in the supermarket. The cereal itself is very cheap, it is the print and distribution costs that we pay for, making this one of the biggest print markets in the world.

Two of our publications have been selected for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition! Our third entry was also shortlisted! We are delighted to be taking part; we love the fact it has been running for hundreds of years, and the fact that we’ll be exhibiting alongside grannies and the YBAs simultaneously. In the show you will see,

The nth Convention (Julie Rafalski, Tahu Deans, David Henningham)


Credit Crunch (Eddie Farrell and Henningham Family Press)

and shortlisted, but not quite making it to the wall,

Monday School Illuminations (David Henningham)

PrintWeek covered the KJBB:

COMMEMORATIVE COMMUNION
Over the Easter weekend, The Henningham Family Press (HFP) represented the printing world at a North London event to celebrate the printing of the first King James Bible. Among a whole host of attractions on offer at the celebration, including film, music and poetry, HFP spent the week previous with a selection of artists creating a poster print of the seven days of creation. On the night of the event, they then made prints of this creation live on stage with what they termed a “performance print production line” that included the use of gold-effect bronze pigments.

HFP’s David Henningham says: “We put out an open call to printers, writers and artists to submit work. Then they congregated in our workshop to design the print as a booklet and do some initial printing. We then assembled at the live show to do the final screen as a production line with a small silkscreen and some hairdryers. All participants were dressed in a colour of the spectrum and we were accompanied by a Casio keyboard playing Terry Riley’s Curve of the Rainbow.”

What a great night we had. Thank you all for a great turn-out and such a charismatic audience! The spontaneous singing of “for he’s a jolly good Bible” and ‘Happy Birthday’ were definitely a highlight for us. See below the wonderful Bible Cake that provoked it. Also images of the Live Print Production Line accompanied by Kerry Yong on Casio with Terry Riley’s A Rainbow in Curved Air. Performed by Sam Meech, Kevin Helas, Rosalind Holmes Duffy, Margaux Carpentier, James Wilkes (and Sal), Sarah Jane Barnes, and Phillipe Nash.

Print ‘void’ now for sale here and on bookshelf here

Also the mesmerising poem and film ‘Noah’s Ark’ by Nathan Jones and Sam Meech was truly amazing. One of the most accomplished films I’ve ever seen. At times Nathan seemed to be absorbed into the archive footage on the screen. More news from them very soon, as we launched on the night the book of the piece, published by us at HFP.