View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
Etching (at 45 rpm) is one of twenty works produced by contemporary artists for the Cubitt Print Box in 2000. Cubitt is an artist-run gallery and studio complex in north London. In 2001 the complex moved from King’s Cross to Islington and the prints were commissioned as part of a drive to raise funds to help finance the move, and to support future exhibitions and events at the new gallery space. All the artists who contributed to the project had previously taken part in Cubitt’s programme. The portfolio was produced in an edition of 100 with twenty artists’ proofs; Tate’s copy is number sixty-six in the series.
On Floyer’s print shaky lines trace an irregular circular form on off-white card. The print was handmade by the artist drawing directly on to an etching plate with an etching tool. Floyer mimicked the circular movement of a record player spinning at forty-five revolutions per minute, the speed traditionally associated with seven inch single records. The artists drew an overlapping circle made up of forty-five rotations in sixty seconds. The diameter of Floyer’s rough circle approximately corresponds to the middle of song on a typical seven inch record.
Floyer echoed the mechanism of a machine designed to produce sound in order to create a visual artwork. The resulting print was then produced as a multiple like a limited edition disc. Etching (at 45 rpm) employs a self-reflexive conceptual strategy that is evident in Floyer’s other work. The print is closely linked to Carousel, 1996 (Lisson Gallery), a turntable which plays the sound of a slide projector clicking between images. Like the print, Carousel draws attention to the distinction between sight and sound while it makes the audience aware of the ordinarily overlooked peripheral effects of everyday objects. Both works refer to technology that may appear slightly outmoded or nostalgic.
Floyer originally intended to produce Etching (at 45 rpm) as etched prints, but the minute detail of her drawing made the image time-consuming to print. For this reason, although the twenty artist’s proofs distributed to the Cubitt Print Box contributing artists were produced as etchings, the numbered editions were produced as offset prints.
Marianne Torp and Angela Rosenberg, Ceal Floyer, exhibition catalogue, X-Rummet Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, 2002.
Okwui Enwezor, ed., Mirror’s Edge, exhibition catalogue, BildMuseet, Umeå, 1999.
David Musgrave, ‘Ceal Floyer’, Art Monthly, no.24, March 2001, pp.45-6.