Wooing - 1959


Werner Berg liked to integrate the grain of spruce wood into his compositions. He succeeded in doing so primarily on account of his technique of printing by hand. After carving the woodblock, he applied printing ink to it using a small roller. Then a sheet of Japan paper was laid on the inked printing block. From the back side, the artist pressed the paper against the block using a rubbing tool. The ink soaked through the absorbent Japan paper to the back, so that Berg could judge and modulate the intensity of the black surfaces during the printing process. This procedure allowed him – unlike printing with a press – to produce fine gradations in the intensity of the monochrome black. Thus it was possible to differentiate darker and denser areas of black from others that were lighter, such as those seen here in the tree, the man’s shoulder and in the shadowed areas of the heads. It is precisely these compositional elements, which often go unnoticed at first glance, that give the originals an allure that is hard to capture in reproductions. It also means that each individual print from the same block is different. “With me no two prints are the same. The reproduction is actually production,” said Werner Berg.


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