lines as light as feathers

lines as light as feathers

Lars Nyberg is one of the big names in Swedish contemporary fine art prints. The technique he has made his own is that of drypoint, to draw directly on the copper plate with a sharp steel needle. At ed. art, we are proud to present six drypoint prints by the artist.

Several of the works are portraits of flowers. Not just any flowers or plants, but ones that somehow appeals to Lars Nyberg, or as he himself puts it, ones that he has met.

– Sometimes I come across a plant at a friend's house and understand at once "I have to make a portrait of you". It is like love or happiness at first sight. Sometimes I see a plant innumerable times without really seeing it, but then suddenly I discover it.

- First, I usually meet the plants many times before I start drawing them. Then I draw them over and over again, it leads to simplifications. After maybe 20-30 drawings of the same quirky plant, something starts to happen. I think I get to know them more and more.

The plants and landscapes that Lars Nyberg finally depicts, he portrays with the help of the drypoint. He works with the sharp steel needle directly in the shiny copper plate, a method he describes as simple and direct. One might think that the work is similar to that of drawing, but Lars Nyberg dismisses that.

- It is something else – living, unexpected lines. Thin lines that breathe. Thin scratches. Drypoint lines - or small dots that come together to form soft shadows.

The copper plate, tools and a test print

– Copper is almost a magical material to work in. It is easy to remove lines, to blur them with a burnisher, but also to soften the lines, make them thin, thin.

The goal for Lars Nyberg is not to make reproductions – the possibility that printmaking provides. The goal is to – thanks to the drypoint's unique possibilities – try to approach an idea in a unique medium. The fact that it is also possible to make several copies of the same picture is a positive side effect that the artist appreciates.

- It is fun to be able to print several copies, exchange prints with colleagues or give prints away. The prints shouldn’t be expensive, I think.

Lars Nyberg came across the drypoint technique at the age of 17. His drawing teacher Karin showed him the large copper printing press in the art classroom. It had belonged to the artist Börje Sandelin, and this was where Lars Nyberg drew his first tentative scratches in small zinc plates.

The Krausse press that Lars Nyberg uses today to print his editions

- It changed and affected my life completely. I knew I was going to continue with this - I had to keep going.

In the book Ristningar (Carvings), Börje Sandelin – the man with the printing press – writes: “Line, you are just a line, but I can bend you, curve you, bow you. How about a journey?”

Lars Nyberg came along on that journey. It first took him to preparatory art schools, then the Academy of Fine Arts' printmaking program 1978-83. Since then, he has worked as an artist and exhibited extensively both in Sweden and abroad. Today he runs Grafikverkstan Godsmagasinet in Uttersberg together with the artist Lina Nordenström. Here, the couple has created a contemporary center for printmaking where they both work, visiting artists are invited to work, and they arrange exhibitions. The long journey that began in 1973 continues.