Kristina Kapeljuh

February 19th, 2021 4:41 min read 1289 words

I see aquatint as a metonym of symbiotic destruction. Acid ruins zinc while zinc ruins acid. The acid slowly eats zinc. But interaction with zinc, in turn, eventually weakens acid’s ability to corrode molecules of metal. In this hybridisation behind the dry chemical process, there is a thin layer of varnish and immense landscape for artistic creativity. The drawing on the plate is confusing and requires time to adjust to the character of varnish.  In it, there is a place for intention, but also blindness.

The mark is produced with no understanding of its depth. It is not the force of a brushstroke, light, or acid itself that dictates the depth of amalgamation between zinc and chemicals. It is the time that creates the framework for symbiotic destruction. Time demonstrates the corruption of two materials, but barely visually. There can be an immense change in few seconds while the zinc plate covered in transparent liquid appears to stay the same to the bare eye. Time allows acid to bite the plate and create a space for molecules of ink to attach and get trapped into the holes of etching. This beautiful invisible symbiosis is mesmerising. Endeavours to control the process feel hypocritical.

These procedures create a system in which I am only a screw within the fluctuating metamorphosis of participating actants. This is why the repetitive relationship between acid and zinc, in particular, provokes the thought of dualism, materiality, and inter-connectedness. Repetition creates a puzzle of the image and reveals the post-constructivism. The meaning behind the satin shade of the soaked paper, the implication behind the colour of the melting rosin on the plate, and the number of emerging bubbles of air in the acid; all of these exalted sophisticated details cannot be decoded by the eye of the spectator without tactility, repetition, and experience.

I miss you very much, dear Aquatint, and cannot wait to see you soon.

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