Philipp Hennevogl explains the reductive engraving technique

Philipp Hennevogl was born in 1968 in Würzburg (Germany). Since 1992, he has exhibited regularly in numerous galleries and art institutions and his works feature in many private and public collections in Germany.

Philipp Hennevogl creates his linocuts from his own photographs, manually or using a letterpress proofing press.

For many years, he did monochrome printing. Today he uses the “reductive engraving” technique for 6-8 colour printing, using the same method as Picasso, who created his first linocut in 1954.

Linocutting is a relatively recent engraving technique (linoleum appeared in England in 1863). Originally used to cover floors, it was only around 1900 that artists gave it a new use, for engraving.

Linocutting is derived from woodcutting (wood engraving). The same technical principles are used: gouging out the blank areas (the actual engraving process), applying ink across the uncarved areas (inking) and finally transferring the image engraved onto the paper (printing or pressing).

The “reductive engraving” or “lost lino” technique consists of printing several successive colours (starting with the lightest and moving through to the darkest) using a single sheet of linoleum. The drawing is reproduced as a mirror image (reversal) on the lino plate. The latter is recut and re-inked after each printing run, gradually revealing the final design on the paper.
At the end of the process, the lino plate is no longer usable, and this is why this technique is called “lost lino”. The number of printing runs is therefore limited.

The choice of paper is very important for this very specific technique. Philipp Hennevogl prefers ARCHES® Platine paper because it does not absorb colour. The colours remain sharp and do not shine, even after the 8th run. The paper, whose surface is perfect, demonstrates exemplary stability after each printing run and retains its stiffness.