Carlos Capelán

Artist / Professor


Free from its various traditional boundaries, printmaking today can be perceived as a referential and inspirational procedure for projects that do not necessarily aspire to being graphic art or printmaking.

In my presentation I will suggest that the experience of printmaking has been at the very core of a body of works (drawings, paintings, actions, installation, etc.) that I have produced during the last 30 years.

In order to discuss this I draw on the following issues that are themes within the procedures of printmaking, and that have served as clues to perceiving printmaking as a referential frame in many of my works.

The edition
The old need of an edition that literature and printmaking used to work with, is today somehow linked to the contemporary phenomenon of spreading information.
There is not an idea, or a product that today cannot find a way to reach out to various ¨audiences¨.

The matrix
Further, the matrix that is needed to produce a work today could be a slide, a digital image, a video, a text or the production of the matrix itself.
(Many of us understand today that the matrix of an artwork is the idea, the concept, the impulse or the need that generate it)

The surface onto which the matrix is projected
I like to think that any surface is specifically interesting to support an artwork.

The printing
We can imagine that behind a hand made produced version of a matrix is the notion that the very mechanics of the hands and the body have taken over the former function of the printing press.

By using a variety of matrices and surfaces we can contextualize, de-contextualize and re-contextualize the original ideas and their material/immaterial representations.

In that sense, the identity of printmaking today does not depend on a limited and numbered edition for it´s legitimation. Nor does it have to renounce to make use of it. The same thing does apply to other aspects of printmaking (the matrix, the supporting surface, the mechanical technics, etc.) all of which may or may not be used for the purpose of producing an art project.


In the particular case of my projects, the results don’t aspire to be prints, but are instead a series of procedures inspired by the experience of printmaking.

Carlos Capelán (1948 Montevideo, Uruguay) is a resident of different places at the same time (Sweden, Costa Rica, Norway, Santiago de Compostela or Montevideo), with long, regular stays in diverse countries.

Capelán belongs to what has been denominated “post-conceptualist artists”, working with idea structures and insisting in the material and formal diversity of their approaches. His work operates from the language of representation and tends to allude to category systems and identitary questions, whether they are cultural, social or, even, of the artist himself and “his” art.

Capelán has participated, among others, in the biennials of Kwang-ju (Corea), Johannesburg (South Africa), Site Santa Fe (USA), Auckland (New Zealand), São Paulo and MERCOSUR (Brazil), Bienal del Barro (Venezuela), Bienal Paiz de Guatemala and Venice (Italy). He has been awarded the prize of the Third Havanna Biennial and the Guggenheim Fellowship, among others.

Professor at the Art Academy in Bergen, Norway, between (2000-2006).

Among those who have written on his work, are: Gerardo Mosquera, Thomas McEvilley, Paulo Herkenhof, Ticio escobar, Virginia Pérez-Ratton, Carla Stellweg, Catherine David, Fernando Castro Flórez, Sune Nordgren, Jonathan Friedman, Nikos Papastergiadis, Octavio Zaya and Gavin Jantjes.

Opening of Seminar
September 15, 2015
4 p.m
Panel 2: Contemporary Constitutes of Print
September 16, 2015
2 p.m  -  4:30 p.m