Elizabeth Tomos is a performance artist working with drawing and printmaking, living and working in Northampton. Tomos approaches embodiment as a means to engage politically, countering the reductionism of human beings to productivity and units of commerce.
In 2016, Tomos hand-built a vertical screen-printing press designed to record minute shifts in bodily pressure. This print is the result of a six-day printmaking performance through which one 10m print produced every day, with Tomos ‘clocking on’ from 9am-5pm. The large scale of the print draws attention to the movements and labour of the printmaker. The artist’s performances with the machine require endurance, with the body increasingly unable to perform the task of printing and to act ‘efficiently’ as a unit of labour. ‘The hand tends to return by a shorter path’ as the body ‘learns’ what successfully makes marks on the paper and adjusts to the rhythm of the machine.
The interplay of mediums is crucial to this work. The history of printmaking is linked to the mass-production of advertising under capitalism, while also being an expedient medium of political and counter-cultural communication. Meanwhile, performance art is political in its anti-commercial implications: it is not an object or an artefact.