The German artist Thomas Kilpper has established an international reputation through spectacular site-specific (or “site-related,” in the artist’s phrase) socially and politically responsive projects in locations such as Orbit House, London (2000), and the former East German Ministry of State Security (Stasi) headquarters in Berlin (2009).1 Although he sees his activity primarily in the context of sculpture, Kilp-per has excited a large following among printmakers because of his strategic use of carved floors as both installations and temporary printing matrices for large-scale works on paper and fabric. The most recent of these ambitious creations, The Politics of Heritage vs. The Heritage of Politics (2019), was made in response to an invitation from Edinburgh Printmakers, Britain’s oldest open-access print workshop (founded in 1967), to help inaugurate its new home in Castle Mills, the refurbished 19th-century headquarters of the North British Rubber Company (NBRC).
- All quotes from the artist, unless otherwise identified, are from conversation with the author on 5 April 2019 at Edinburgh Printmakers, Castle mills, Edinburgh. For an extended discussion of these two works and others, see Paul Coldwell, “Matrix, Meaning and the Specificity of Site: The Floor-cuts of Thomas Kilpper,” Print Quarterly 29, no. 4 (December 2012).