Joëlle Tuerlinckx, One Printed Page 2: Joëlle Tuerlinckx
In her films, sculptures, public projects, and extensive publications, the Belgian Conceptual artist Joëlle Tuerlinckx looks at unlikely spaces and substances to pose formal, perceptual, physical and social conundrums. For The Library Council, Tuerlinckx has created a special edition, titled la-plus-grande-surface-au-monde scale 1:1 / the-biggest-surface-of-the-world scale 1:1, from one printed sheet of paper. The edition was generated from a sample artifact that the artist calls “original momametamaterial”—a sheet of paper covered with a thick layer of powdery gray photocopier toner. Each unique image, signed and dated to the hour, was produced on a series of desktop laser printers over many days. Each reads as a shimmering, minimalist gray abstraction, printed on a circular sheet of paper, or as a gray void, marked by the shifting moiré patterns that in commercial printing may indicate degraded reproduction. Accompanying each piece is a seemingly scientific, highly technical description of the project, written by the artist, with computer-generated diagrams of atomic spheres. The text, sometimes credible, sometimes vaguely preposterous, outlines the complex electrostatic calibrations and other processes by which the artist fabricated “extracts” from a surface that does not exist in nature.
The project embraces the accidental visual effects and the rapid obsolescence of everyday print media such as xerography, laser printing, and ink-jet printing. It proposes absurd or unexpected relationships of scale and intention, and blurs distinctions between the copy and the original, the ordinary and the precious, the archaic and the modern. Tuerlinckx makes visible a personal and aesthetic territory drawn from the overlooked, ubiquitous, and impersonal print mediums, products, and zones that seem to cover the surface of the earth—the circuitous space of the “grande surface”—in English, “supermarket”—to which the punning title refers.