The German Woodcut: Christiane Baumgartner
“The German Woodcut: Christiane Baumgartner” celebrates the recent acquisition of Transall (2002), a monumental woodcut by German printmaker Christiane Baumgartner. In her contemporary depictions of motion and speed, Baumgartner combines the newest and fastest means of reproduction (photography and video) with the oldest and slowest (woodcut), fusing the precision of digital technology to the traditional and the handmade. At 14 feet in length, Transall is among her most ambitious works and a milestone of 21st-century printmaking. The enormous image of military cargo planes on a tarmac is based on a found photograph that Baumgartner transferred to her woodblock and carved by hand over a period of 10 months. In addition to Transall, the exhibition presents four other woodcuts by Baumgartner, including a four-part series capturing cars on the Autobahn as they approach an overpass (Schkeuditz I-IV, 2005), and a depiction of Allied bombers over Germany, based on a video still from a World War II documentary (Trails I-II, 2008). Of special note is the portfolio 1 Sekunde (2004), a set of 25 woodcuts that together represent a single second of video that Baumgartner shot of a blurred wooded landscape captured from the open window of a moving car.