September 25, 2008
EPI 2008 marks SNAP’s second time hosting an international print exhibition in Edmonton. In 2002 they hosted the TrueNorth SNAP International Print Competition. Intended to be a biennale, it was relabeled as a triennale when funding disappeared before being postponed indefinitely.
But there were enough people still excited from TrueNorth to start again from scratch. And Jule says like a phoenix rising from the ashes they started raising money from anyone and everyone.
“The idea of doing one of these larger international shows really is SNAP’s idea to fit in with the network of print international biennales that go on around the world. It’s a way to link up with a global movement and become more aware of what’s going on in the evolution of the medium.”
Unlike Trois-Riviers’ international print biennale, EPI 2008 had an open call for entries. Although Jule says curatorial exhibitions can have great vision, he and SNAP were more interested in holding a survey show to test the waters of international printmaking. And with 1400 submissions that’s what they ended up doing.
“That’s where you want to bite bullets. When you do a general call for entries—it’s like being in hockey stadium and saying who wants to go for beer, you just don’t know who’s going to step forward.”
After paring down the submissions to 63 works, EPI brought together their international jury of Maurice Pasternak (Belgium), Noda Tetsuya (Japan) and Canada’s own Davida Kidd. The jurors awarded $30,000 in prizes, and eleven winners from seven different countries will be on hand at the exhibition’s grand opening to receive their prizes. Almost 20 other exhibiting artists will be there as well.
After the grand opening and when the exhibition is taken down, the future of the EPI is in the air. Not making the mistake of biting off more than they can chew, SNAP is billing the competition as one-off.
“I think we have a bigger ball now, and if this one continues it will be due to the success this one has within the international press, the critical print community. If enough interest is there the question becomes will it feed back with renewed financial support from the private and public sector, and we don’t know.”
EPI 2008 begins with a grand opening reception Fri September 26 at Edmonton’s Capital Arts building. Prints will be on display from Fri September 26 – Fri October 17 at Edmonton’s Capital Arts Building, SNAP Gallery and the University of Alberta Museums, Print Study Centre. Visit EPI 2008 for a complete schedule of events.
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