AS PART of the annual French Spring Festival in Manila, an exhibit titled Major French Contemporary Artists: Etchings and Lithographs went on display at the Total Alliance Gallery in Makati City last April 19 to May 12.

Aside from the usual oils-on- canvas, the exhibit, curated by Marie Simon, showed that etching, an intaglio method of printmaking, and lithography, are completely different disciplines. Contemporary artists, whose works are permanent pieces in renowned galleries all over the world, used lithography, a type of printing where the entire print block comes in contact with the paper sheet, and a chemical process confines the ink to the desired image on the block.

However, one could see the immense mix of styles and backgrounds of the artists in their use of these techniques.

Most of Nissan Engel’s works had a sepia tone. His pieces, such as “La Colonne,” a collage with a blend of color glowing from it, reveal an innovation in art that could be achieved through etching.

“3 tissues blancs,” the focal piece of the exhibit, was by realist Willi Kissmer. An expert on etching variations such as aquatint, mezzotint, and drypoint, Kissmer’s works are mostly sensual, revealing the outlines and curves of the female anatomy without blatantly exposing privates.

The exhibit also featured Japanese artist Soichi Hasegawa, whose “Taurnos” and “Matin Rovaeryont” showed brilliance in incorporating different colors in etching and engraving.

Korean artist Kim Min shows his minimalist tendencies, with just a far view of a tree dominating his lithographs.

Meanwhile, the lithographs of Claude Weisbuch stood out because the artist left them unfinished. Although incomplete, Weisbuch’s pieces are strong and defined. “Partition Dechiree” and “Le Violon” reveal the artist’s interests in the performing arts, with both pieces showing a man playing a violin. In all of Weisburch’s pieces, theatre and music are recurring themes. Brian P. Sales

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