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Boo Saville's Ghosts

September 2, 2009 by Ellie

When asked about the thought and production processes invested in her Ghost and Ghost Proof prints, artist Boo Saville gave Other Criteria a clear account of how she came to work, and rework, them. Below are some extracts from her account:

‘I collect images of dead bodies from books and the internet and am interested in restoring these temporal moments back into objects.’

Ghost, Boo SavilleGhost, Boo Saville

‘I am interested in repetitive qualities in images and felt etching would be an exciting way of experimenting with this idea. I was making paintings in the studio recently from a particular image which had a curious sense of ambiguity about it. I used this image to make up a copper plate and it is from this image that I started working.’

‘I wanted to be very hands on with the print, drawing on, burning and experimenting in whatever way I could disrupt the image. I did a set of monoprints as tests before attempting an edition and I loved the process. I took the inked up photographic image and threw turps on it to break up the ink on the plate. This gave the process an exciting sense of risk and a beautiful painterly mark. I have drawn on, cut up and set fire to the monoprints.’

Ghost, Boo SavilleGhost, Boo Saville

‘We also did some Chine Collé, a process where you lay a thin piece of paper on the plate to incorporate a colour or texture into the print. I liked taking a traditional process and using it as a starting point.’

‘The title for the monoprints, 'Ghost', is a suggestion of the transient, fluid nature of this process and a play on its obvious, more macabre, reference.’

Ghost Proof, Boo SavilleGhost Proof, Boo Saville

‘The edition of Ghost Proof etchings was a culmination of my monoprinting techniques in the Ghost series, but the disruption to the etching plate was far more permanent. The acids and mark making were to become an irreversible feature of the existing photographic print. I wanted to literally rot and burn the man’s face until I got to a point of tension in the image where features were becoming unrecognisable.’

Boo Saville, Ghost / Ghost Proof, 10th December, 2009 – 20th January, 2010, Other Criteria London