Dirk Hagner: L.A. Tabulae ad Astra (Exhibition Catalog)

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Los Angeles

TabulĂŚ ad Astra





L.A. TabulĂŚ ad Astra February 16 - March 2, 2015


Cover images: Design by Rebecca McKinney featuring Tab.10 and ephmer a, by Dirk Hagner, cour tesy of the ar tist. Ar twork images by Dirk Hagner, cour tesy of the ar tist. All other document ation photogr aphs by Jef f Rau and Melanie Kim, from exhibition in the Earl & Virginia G reen Ar t Galler y. L. A . Tabulae ad Astr a (exhibition cat alog), by Dirk Hagner Editor: Jef f Rau Contributing author: K arin Lanzoni Copyright Š 2015 Earl & Virginia Green Ar t Galler y All rights reser ved. Fir st Edition. Book design by Rebecca McKinney. Published through Issuu.com Earl & Virginia Green Ar t Galler y Biola Univer sity Ar t Depar tment 13800 Biola Ave., La Mir ada, CA 90639 562.903.4807 • www.Biola.edu/Ar tGalle r y No par t of this book may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher.


E xhib itio n St ate me n t M a sh- u p Marg in al ia b y K a rin La nzoni

L. A . Tab l u ae Astr a Title S h eet Ta bula 1 Ta bula 2 Ta bula 3 Ta bula 4 Ta bula 5 Ta bula 6 Ta bula 7 Ta bula 8 Ta bula 10 Ta bula 11 Ta bula 12 Ta bula 13 Ta bula 14

P roje ct E phe me r a E xhib itio n Che ck l ist A r tist Bio g r aphy Ack n owl e d g me n ts A bo u t the G al l e r y



L.A.

Tabulæ ad Astra

L.A.: Tabulae ad Astra (Los Angeles: Maps to the Stars) is a series of prints integrating portions of street maps of Los Angeles with gestural lines, impromptu marks from testing pen nibs, and cutting lines on boards—all unwittingly produced in the artist’s studio while working on other projects. The combined layers of intersecting and overlapping marks take on a surprising cartographic character that is reinforced by additional ancient map-like elements such as measurement grids, Latin phrases, beastiary, and scale markers. The resultant prints are also physically connected to the Los Angeles landscape, being printed on paper that was first soaked and stained in the waters of the L.A. River. Together Tabulae ad Astra plays on the constant tensions of control vs. freedom, order vs. complexity, safety vs. adventure, and city vs. wilderness. 



T he s uite of 14 let te r pre ss prints called L.A .: Ta bulæ a d Astra (L.A .: M a ps t o t he St ar s), by D irk Ha g n e r, b ear s a res emblance to an incunabulum and yet, i s pr in ted on 21t h ce n t ur y, spir al bound, sketch- book paper bearing a yellow - b row n pa t in a f rom t he wa te r s of t he L.A . river. I t claims to be a map to the “ st ar s,” which usua lly m e a n s whe re celebrities live, but not here. The title p age has a d ec or a t ive f r a m e , which was impor ted from E xsurge Domine, a papal b ul l , i n which Pope L e o X re spon de d to Mar tin Luther’s 95 T h esis. Each of the fo l l ow i ng pl a tes a re st a mpe d wit h t iny Latin phr ases in a Gutenberg- like font, accomp ani ed by in d exica l m a rk s, Ror scha ch- like st ains , indigo s plats, and str ange litt l e 15 th c en t u r y de pict ion s of im a g inar y s ea creatures . How does one make s ense o f al l o f t hese pr in te d m a rg in a lia on the ubiquitous rect angles that appear o n each pa ge? L et ’ s t a ke t he proce ss apar t, in the way that these fr agment ar y images were pr in ted: f rom t he ce n te r outward. A l l o f t he pla te s in L .A . : Tabulæ a d Astra st ar t with a rect angular- s haped o b j ect in t he ce n te r — t he m ode r n ist grid. The grid is a birds - eye view of a land sc ap e a n d em ble m a t ic of t he cit y’s infr astructure; it is symbolic mapping, b ut yet, it is a n a bst r a ct ion . Rosa li nd Kr auss s uggests “the grid functions to d ec l are t he m o de r n it y of m ode r n a r t.” Here, it is a mas h- up quote from the p ages o f a r t histor y. T hey a ppe a r li ke small sheets of gr aph paper in a wide r ange o f fa d ed color s f rom se pia to carbon- copy blue. Overlaying the grid (but p l aced a ro u n d t he m a rg in s) is a n ot her map: a collage cutout—in the form of mo u nt ai n r a n ges —f rom t he fa m ous Th oma s Guide of Los Angeles and Or ange Co u nti es. At o n ce , we have a f la t vi ew of the “city of roads ” and then a s il ho u ette o f t he fa m ous m oun t a in r a nges that surround the LA bas in. The center p i ece o f ea ch Tab u l a a n chor s the modernist grid while alluding to a vi sual repres e n t a t ion of L os A n g e les. 1 Rosalind Krauss, ‘Grids’, in The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths, Cambridge, Mass. and London 1985, p.1


P r in ted o n t he g r ids a re a ll k inds of indexical marks . Long lines in dif fe rent c o l o r s c r isscross like a n Et ch-a - Sketch across the plates. A hef ty or ange spo ngel ike m a rk ca re e n s a cross Tab u la 14. Delicate navy blue and rust color s sw i r l l ike t he in ke d win d m a rk s f rom the mouths of Dürer’s putti (who do ap p ear in t he c o rn e r s of Tab u l a 10 a s the Sant a Ana winds). A wide s wath of a b l ack b r u s h st roke ha s se ve r a l de lica te red inked lines printed on it—like must aches, ha ir, o r eye brow s. W hite a n d b lue s plotches of paint bloom with faint hal o s a ro u n d t he m . M a ny of t he se hand- induced remnants look accident al but then a re rec o u p e d in t he se Tab u l æ. Collectively, they point to the one who des ig ned , en gr aved a n d exe cute d t his (f rom the title page: iuentor, caelavit et excudit) b ut a re a l s o p ote n t sig n if ie r s of t he handmade in our digit al age, and they f loat l i ke a c o l l ec t ive dre a m a bove t he city of Los Angeles . S u r ro u n d in g t h e g r ids a n d g e st ur al marks in thes e Ta bulæ, are letter pres s p r i nts o f t h e “ r a t ion a l” tools of t he car togr apher. Various images of compas ses , sl i d e r u l er s , a nd prot r a ctor s a re de picted in thin red and blue lines and are pl ac ed o n t he gr i d a n d in t he m a rg in s, in homage to the ex actitude of meas urements. T hes e ha n d-he ld in st r um e n t s from the Middle A ges and Renais sance were u s ed to obse ssive ly cha r t cour s es acros s oceans using the only referenc e po in t ava i la ble : t he st a r s. If m ea s u re m e n t is a compulsive gesture, another is nomination. We have named sto r m s , st a r s, a n d sick n e sse s in the vain attempt to s omehow make them m o re c o n c eiva b le to our ide a s of t hings. Likewise, Hagner—in the margins around the gr id — n a m e d wit hin t he un cha r ted territor y invis ible but dangerous micro b es: H 1 N 1 F l u vir us a n d E. Coli O157:H7 bacteria. He named Los Angeles: Ter r a Via r u m ( cit y of roa ds), a n d For um Somniorum (market of dreams ). He des cri b ed c it y l ife a s: Hom o Hom in i L upus (man is wolf to man) and Comidite Omni a ( c o n s u m e e ve r yt hin g ). A bove the grids, he printed, Post Nubila Phoebus (af ter c l o u d s , t he sun ). In t he sur ro unding margins , he printed little Dat a M atr i x c o d es t ha t you ca n sca n in to yo ur smar t phone and arrive at the E nglish phr ase o f t he La t in — a dig it a l t r a n sla tor. But it is als o a tr ans por t to another world w i th ( d a rk , f il m ic) con te mpor a r y de scriptions of Los Angeles in a modern font ; they s o u n d l ike m ovie t it le s.


By n ow, we have a r r ive d a t t he far margins of the maps . We are in the “ sea o f m o n ster s.” St un n in g im a g e s of water dr agons and the like—t aken from bo o k s o f t he 15 t h ce n t ur y a n d on — a ppear in extr avagant det ail. They are little econo mi es o f pen a n d in k de pict in g cre atures from our imaginations : s he- devil mermai d s, wa l r u s es wit h wa te r spout s, a nd Nessies of the deep. Such territories are o nl y t a m ed t hroug h t he se in cre dible depictions of wonder, but are cipher s o f the u n kn own . He re , a t t he oute r edges, we are Wh ere th e Wild T h ings Are. Bu t whe re do t he se m a ps le a d us ? Where are the st ar s ? They are the lum i no u s s pheres o f book s. L ike t he spin of the hand on vinyl, this is the s pin of the gr ap hi c im a ge o n pa pe r. Ha g n e r sa mpled from many kinds of books : s ketchbooks , 15 th a n d 16 t h ce n t ur y book s, pa pa l bulls , and books on maps . He also s ampled fro m t he pr in t in g proce ss it se lf : scr ap paper, f ir st pulls, as well as cuts and blotches o n a n d aroun d t he pr in t in g sur faces . These images are remixed by hand i nto t he c o r p ore a l m a n ife st a t ion s o f the printed and pres sed image from our cul tu r al l ex ic o n s , re son a t in g wit h our collective (visual) unconscious. As Master Pr i nter H a gn er r if f s on L .A .





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T hese

pages feature the byproduct of the printing process from the L.A.: Tabulae ad Astra series— test strips for color and overprints, run-off sheets from stripping ink off type, and blocks used to clean after a session of printing. They were not originally designed to be shown, but now they reveal the ephemeral beauty of the studio process.









Dirk Hagner L . A . : Ta bu l a e a d Astr a , Title S h e et

L .A .: Tabulae ad Ast r a, Tabula 8

lett er press print ed rect o and ver so on L.A . River st ained paper 25” x 21”

lett er press, collage, and digit al grid on L.A . River st ained paper 25” x 21”

L . A . : Ta bu l a e a d Astr a , Ta bu la 1

L .A .: Tabulae ad Ast r a, Tabula 9

lett er press, chine collé, and digit al grid on L.A . River st ained paper 25” x 21”

lett er press, chine collé, and digit al grid on L.A . River st ained paper 25” x 21”

L . A . : Ta bu l a e a d Astr a , Ta bu la 2

L .A .: Tabulae ad Ast r a, Tabula 10

lett er press, chine collé, and digit al grid on L.A . River st ained paper 25” x 21”

lett er press, collage, and digit al grid on L.A . River st ained paper 25” x 21”

L . A . : Ta bu l a e a d Astr a , Ta bu la 3

L .A .: Tabulae ad Ast r a, Tabula 11

lett er press, collage, and digit al grid on L.A . River st ained paper 25” x 21”

lett er press, chine collé, and digit al grid on L.A . River st ained paper 25” x 21”

L . A . : Ta bu l a e a d Astr a , Ta bu la 4

L .A .: Tabulae ad Ast r a, Tabula 12

lett er press, collage, and digit al grid on L.A . River st ained paper 25” x 21”

lett er press, chine collé, and digit al grid on L.A . River st ained paper 25” x 21”

L . A . : Ta bu l a e a d Astr a , Ta bu la 5

L .A .: Tabulae ad Ast r a, Tabula 13

lett er press, chine collé, and digit al grid on L.A . River st ained paper 25” x 21”

lett er press, collage, and digit al grid on L.A . River st ained paper 25” x 21”

L . A . : Ta bu l a e a d Astr a , Ta bu la 6

L .A .: Tabulae ad Ast r a, Tabula 14

lett er press, collage, and digit al grid on L.A . River st ained paper 25” x 21”

lett er press, chine collé, and digit al grid on L.A . River st ained paper 25” x 21”

L . A . : Ta bu l a e a d Astr a , Ta bu la 7

A ll ar t work copyright 2012, cour tes y of t he ar t ist .

lett er press, chine collé, and digit al grid on L.A . River st ained paper 25” x 21”


Dirk Hagner was born and educated in Germany and has been living in California since the 1980s. He is an artist and printmaker working primarily on paper using woodcut, intaglio and letterpress methods. Hagner’s artwork has previously been selected for juried exhibitions and collections by the directors and curators of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Pasadena Museum of California Art, the Armory Center for the Arts, The National Gallery of Art, the UCLA Hammer Museum, Attleboro Arts Museum, MA, Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, Yosemite National Park Museum, Los Angeles Municipal Gallery, Springfield Art Museum, MO, Riverside Art Museum, Laguna Art Museum, Southern Graphics Council, and the Society of Etchers in NYC. He has been included in over 100 juried group exhibitions, 26 invitational showings and over 20 solo exhibitions in many galleries and institutions, including exhibitions at Loyola University New Orleans, Biola University, Riverside Art Museum, Bakersfield Museum of Art, the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, Concordia University, Mt. SAC, CalState LA., the University of Wisconsin, and Azusa Pacific University. Hagner is a board member of the Los Angeles Printmaking Society, member of The Boston Printmakers, Southern Graphics Council International, and of the Society of Graphic Artists in New York City.




Artist Dirk Hagner would like to thank the following people without whom this exhibit at Biola University would not have been possible. Barry Krammes (Director of Biola’s Center for Christianity Culture and the Arts) for the personal introduction to Professor Dan Callis, who first suggested a proposal to exhibit this project at Biola. Jeff Rau, Gallery Director, who planned the exhibition for the Earl & Virginia Green Art Gallery, and installed the work along with student gallery assistant Alex Sarina. He also, together with student Melanie Kim, photographed the exhibition for the catalog. Last, but not least, thank you to Karin Lanzoni, Gallery Director at CalState Los Angeles for writing the essay, and graphic designer Rebecca McKinney for helping to create this catalog.


The Earl & Virginia Green Art Gallery presents a program of rotating contemporary art exhibitions on the campus of Biola University. Located in the greater Los Angeles area, the Green Art Gallery is well positioned to represent a vital Christian worldview within the critical dialogue of contemporary visual art and to produce engaging exhibitions that grapple with issues concerning the intersection of faith with art and culture. The Green Art Gallery also provides professional development opportunities for Biola art students through gallery exhibitions and internships. For more information please visit www.Biola.edu/ArtGallery