The Cardiff Sessions – A Collaborative Print and Drawing Project

Mike Iveson – Christina Wrege – Ian Wilkins


The Project: Sheets of paper were coated with gum Arabic, folded up and sent to the members of the group. Each artist then started drawing on the paper with lithographic crayons and tusche just to send it on to the next artist who had to react to the already existing drawing. In this way three exceptional drawings were created, some referencing the artists’ distinctively different drawing styles and motives; others evoking the illusion of only one single creator. I the course an intense week of printing and decision making the drawings were transferred onto lithographic stones and printed as editions of five.



The saying ‘Too many cooks spoil the broth’ suggests that collaboration in the kitchen is rather chaotic and might lead to a truly awful outcome. In art the notion of collaboration usually represents a counter reaction to the predominant idea of individualism and the solitary artist as genius.

There are many different types of collaborative activity in contemporary art: artists forming a collective and giving up their individual persona as artists (Christo and Jeanne Claude), collaborative activity in producing the work (Richard Woods, and others), and last but not least artists coming together for collaborative projects, keeping their individual identities (Dieter Roth and Richard Hamilton).


Any collaborative practice asks for a high level of structural organisation and democratic communication. Above all though, the act of conjointly producing a piece of art relies on empathy and friendship. This was also the case when the three artists, Mike Iveson, Ian Wilkins and Christina Wrege, got together in Cardiff to embark on the last step of their collaborative drawing project. Putting their artistic egos on hold, they produced a set of three exhilarating Lithographs which reflects both, the artists’ individual persona as well as the dynamics of a group.


In any collaborative experience one looks

for a synergetic leap: the possibility of achieving jointly

 some plateau that neither partner could reach alone.”

Richard Hamilton


Printmaking is inherently a communal activity. The process itself relies on collaboration and communication but sharing the process of creating the image itself really takes the project a step further. Here the artists enter each others artistic privacy. The series of prints produced in the Cardiff Sessions offer a unique insight into the battle between individuality and community. They bring out the artists’ sentiments and represent a fine example of collaboration as contemporary practice, reflecting both its wearing and rewarding nature.


“He eats me, I eat him and then we see what’s left. The results are only eyewash to hide the terrible things that are happening. We are, all of us, sleeping on skulls.” Dieter Roth

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