Engraving the World -A Selection from the Chalcography Collection of the Louvre Museum

Print as Technology – breath-taking strokes of the masters

The exhibition of prized prints from the Chalcography Collection, Lourve Museum in France are displayed in the two galleries nearest to the ticketing, and lift lobby. For anyone interested in drawing, mark-making, cartography, masters copies, print making, you must see this exhibition.

“Singapore Art Museum (SAM) and the Singapore French Festival ’07 Voilah! are proud to present for the first time in Singapore, the Chalcography collection of the Louvre Museum. In line with SAM’s practice of working with renowned international museums and collections, a selection of etchings produced by the Louvre’s Chalcography from engraved copper plates of historically significant works will be on display at SAM from 4 May to 22 July. The selection of 138 etchings dates over four centuries, chronicling the development of the art of copper engraving.”

The works affirm the importance of draughtsmanship in intanglio printing, and the mad cap necessity to ‘record’ the world around us. This exhibition also raises issues of archiving images, and in this case, skewed because these were mostly commissions by the King, and rarely recorded the everyday mundane activities.

This exhibition is best seen as a contrast to the ’50 Years Documenta: Archives in Motion’, and the accompanying tiny section of ‘documenting Singapore through art’ (an intervention by Singaporean archivist, Koh Nguang How?). The need to ‘remember’ is an important process of nation building, as seen in the chalcography collection. From the collection, it is made known that artists joining the Academy of painters and sculptors (and later, engravers), have to submit these as entry requirements, for preservation. A little bit like our national legal depository of books for posterity.

If the collection presented here are any significant inspiration, we should consider the role of institutions that archive art, or fragments of Singapore Society, and presenting them.

While Singapore artists are making art, who’s actually collecting them? Who is taking pictures of what’s worth recording? Are they nice pictures? Are they accessible?

8.0 of 10 stars

The catalogue is a must buy for educators or art enthusiasts in prints. It includes a well documented DVD, explaining etching, and printing.

Singapore Art Museum
04 May – 22 July 2007
All pictures with the kind permission of the Singapore Art Museum. All rights remains with Louvre Museum, France.

chalcography Collection, Louvre Museum

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