There are many different techniques in the field of printmaking. One of them is etching, in which acid is used to etch the motif into a metal printing plate. The etching process can be masterfully controlled; or it can play with chance. The plate is then inked and printed.
The Acid Lab exhibition consists of selected highlights of etching art from the holdings of the Basel Kupferstichkabinett: from the earliest line etchings of the 16th century (Urs Graf, Albrecht Dürer) to the shimmering surface effects of Impressionism (Camille Pissarro, Edgar Degas) to etched abstraction (Sam Francis, Richard Serra).
But the Acid Lab is more than just an exhibition, because before exploring the artworks, visitors can experiment with the techniques for themselves at a digital "etching table" as if in an acid lab. The necessary tools (plates, acids, varnishes, needles) are on hand virtually. Numerous effects can be tried out and combined, and the results can be shared via QR code and taken home.
The Acid Lab is the pilot project of the exhibition series Graphic Lab, which aims to make the collection of the Kupferstichkabinett accessible in a new way.
The exhibition was developed by a collaborative team from the Kupferstichkabinett and the Paper Conservation department under the direction of Marion Heisterberg.
The Acid Lab is made possible with support from the Getty Foundation through The Paper Project Initiative.