T04999 Lisi 1976
Ink, gouache and wax crayon on wove paper 294 × 211 (11 1/2 × 8 1/4)
Purchased from Galerie Stähli, Zürich (Grant-in-Aid) 1987
Exh: Markus Raetz: Arbeiten 1962 bis 1986, Kunsthaus, Zürich, June–Aug. 1986 (120, repr. in col.)
Both these works [T04999 and T05000] were made from the same string and card matrices used to make T04998 (see previous entry). The images were drawn on relatively thick paper, taken from an artist's spiral-bound sketchbook and strong enough to withstand vigorous rubbing with a wax crayon.
It is difficult to be certain about the order of the steps taken by the artist in making T04999 and T05000. Close examination of the works, however, suggests that he began by applying a wash of diluted yellow ink to the paper in both cases. It appears that, in making T04999, Raetz laid the paper over the matrix with the highlighted lines, and applied white gouache in a series of diagonal brushstrokes over the image area. He then placed the paper on the second matrix and vigorously rubbed the same area with black wax crayon. The crayon caught the raised areas of the string, producing the matrix's image of the seated nude. Where the gouache was wet, the colours merged to form streaks of grey. At some point a second, extremely dilute, wash of purple ink was applied in places.
The image of T05000 is much lighter. The paper was placed on the matrix with the highlighted lines and white gouache was freely painted in diagonal lines over the image area. The paint was then left to dry before the paper was put onto the second matrix. It appears that a pale grey wax crayon was then rubbed vigorously over the image area in the same diagonal direction before the black wax crayon was used. This seems to have the effect of restricting the impact of the black crayon. Although considerable pressure was used in rubbing with the black crayon, and there was some smearing of colours, the black crayon is much less in evidence in T05000 than in T04999. A wash of diluted purple ink was then applied in horizontal brush strokes.
T04999 and T05000 are part of a small group of similar works (see previous entry). The group of ‘frottages’, described by the artist in a letter of 9 May 1994 as ‘trials’, shows an experimental attitude, and an interest in process that is characteristic of much of Raetz's work. In addition, the works can be seen as partly undermining conventional distinctions between multiple and unique works. Like prints, they are produced from a template, although the use of frottage and ink washes renders them unique.
This entry has been approved by the artist.
Tate Gallery: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions 1986-88, London 1996