Our Collaboration at FIG Bilbao 2023: A Chronicle

International Printmaking Festival FIG Bilbao 2023

® Rittagraf

Chronicle of the International Printmaking and Paper Art Festival - FIG BILBAO 2023

The camaraderie among industry professionals is evident from the outset. FIG Bilbao has arrived, the specialized fair in graphic art on paper. Profession, passion, paper, ink, and much more passion. A true celebration for lovers of engraving and manual printing techniques on paper. Over fifty exhibitors, workshops, galleries, and artists, including Open Portfolio winners, gather at this event dedicated to engraving and paper art. From November 23 to 26, 2023, FIG Bilbao celebrates its 12th edition with Japan as the guest country. The program includes a wide range of conferences, presentations, demonstrations, and award ceremonies.

This Printmaking and Manual Printing Techniques Fair stands out not only for the quality of artists and exhibitors but also for the enthusiasm of the organization. It evokes passion in every corner and scheduled event. FIG Bilbao is a festival that ignites emotions for those who step into its realm-a space for reconnecting with graphic art. Professionals from various printing techniques temporarily leave their workshops, setting aside relief presses, etching presses, matrices, inks, and papers to share their work and passion. What truly distinguishes artists in graphic art, a sentiment many colleagues would likely agree with, is the camaraderie rarely found in other artistic disciplines.

The profession of a printmaker involves a close relationship with time and the technical processes that convey artistic plasticity. This forges respect and admiration for the generative processes of these plastic languages, fostering camaraderie among practitioners of these techniques. Over four days, you can encounter visual artists, engravers, and master printers discussing their work, openly sharing experiences and technical knowledge, treating it as a deontological duty. FIG Bilbao becomes a fair for selling graphic art and, more importantly, a space for reconnection where knowledge and experiences extend beyond the artists' own works. This unique spirit is challenging to find in other plastic arts fairs or festivals. For the Rittagraf team, it is an honor to actively participate and collaborate with FIG Bilbao.

This is the second edition in which we collaborate with FIG Bilbao. As collaborators, we have contributed by awarding a cash prize to one of the students who participated in the 'Cubos de las Tentaciones' project. In addition, in this edition, we have conducted two technical demonstrations as part of the event schedule.

Award Cubes of Temptations - FIG 2023

A distinctive element at FIG Bilbao is the "Cubes of Temptations" project. Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the aim of this project is to enable a selection of art students to make a plastic intervention on a 2x2-meter wooden cube. These projects are exhibited and welcomed by visitors in the lobby of the Palacio Euskalduna in Bilbao, the location where the meeting takes place. A real privilege to encourage students to present their proposals and showcase their work at this fair. This year, 4 students from the Fine Arts School of the University of the Basque Country (UPV) and 4 students from the Kyoto City University of Arts (KCUA) in Japan have participated.

From left to right: Pedro Galilea, Carlos Alguacil, Alicia Candiani, and Leticia Barbeito.

Our colleague Carlos Alguacil was part of the jury, along with Pedro Galilea from the CIEC Foundation (Betanzos, Spain); Alicia Candiani from the 'ace Project (Buenos Aires, Argentina); and Leticia Barbeito, artist and educator (La Plata, Argentina). Among the awards, the CIEC Foundation granted two residencies for the awarded artists to further expand their knowledge in graphic techniques and develop their artistic projects at their facilities in Betanzos, Galicia. In the case of Rittagraf, for the second consecutive year, we awarded a cash prize of €250 to one of the participating artists. The recipient can redeem it for any product or service to support their ongoing work and artistic endeavors. This year, our prize went to Marta Landa, a student from the University of the Basque Country, who presented an installation focused on the waves of Mundaka. The award aims not only to be a financial reward but also an encouragement for Marta to continue exploring these techniques in her future projects. Congratulations, Marta!

Participants and Jury of the Cubes of Temptations Project 2023

Kyoto City University of Arts, KCUA

Facultad de Bellas Artes UPV/EHU de Bizkaia

Awards ceremony to the Cubes of Temptations project 2023

Demonstrations by Rittagraf at FIG Bilbao 2023

In this edition, we expanded our collaboration and conducted two technical demonstrations. The first one focused on the production of stamps using photopolymer solar plates. The second one covered manual screen printing without photomechanical processes.

Friday, November 24
5:30 PM - Torkulo ekintza.


In our first theoretical-practical demonstration, we guided participants through the detailed process of creating a stamp with a photopolymer plate, utilizing resources accessible to everyone. Additionally, we explored various forms, options, and techniques for stamp creation, discovering the multiple creative possibilities associated with the graphic language of stamps and their versatility in generating unique print forms. This workshop was not only a technical exploration but also an invitation to unleash creativity using a tool as simple as it is powerful.

Saturday, November 25
7:00 PM -
Torkulo ekintza.


In the second demonstration, we presented a method of manual screen printing without the need for machinery or photomechanical processes. From the creation of the screen frame to the execution of the printed edition, the workshop provided a comprehensive view of the process. The reduction of environmental impact adds an ethical component to creativity, opening new possibilities for artists and creative workshops interested in this printing technique. In this way, we discovered the multiple creative possibilities associated with the graphic language of this technique, highlighting its versatility in generating prints beyond conventional screen printing processes.

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