“In the chemical processes of analogue photography, accidents and surprises are normal: the unexpected is expected. But offset printing today is more like digital photography; the unpredictable rarely happens and imperfections are excluded from the finished product. And yet there are ways to overcome the automatism of the machine, to subvert it, and to create printed anarchy.

Reverse engineering is about picking apart a process to change – and in the case of WERK No.30 – to enhance it. Theseus Chan and I did this in three ways.

First, we used “make-ready” paper in the book. Whenever a new plate is inserted into the press, we need to print about 100 sheets of paper until the plate has collected the right levels of ink to deliver the desired result. These make-ready sheets are typically then thrown away – rejects necessary to reach the ideal printed image. But WERK No.30 comprises only such sheets, each slightly different from the next.

Second, we shut down the water section on press, which is used to stabilize the printing process. The plates immediately took on ink where they normally don’t: the ink became thicker and thicker, creating an uncontrolled, increasingly dense image.

Finally, we exchanged some of the standard inks in the four-colour process –cyan, magenta, yellow, black – for fluorescent variants. We thus extended and deformed the CMYK colour space in ways we couldn’t anticipate.

The book is an experiment with technical, chemical and optical accidents within offset printing. Each book in the print-run is unique, a proud publication of that which is normally not published.” Gerhard Steidl

Limited edition of 650 copies

280 pages, 143 images

26 x 36 cm


ISBN 978-3-96999-161-9
1. Edition 09/2022

€ 85.00 incl. VAT
Free shipping

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