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screenprint - AGITPROP (PMS 871)


  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    UK (printed)

  • Date:

    2003 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Fullerton, Michael, born 1968 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Screenprint in gold ink on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Michael Fullerton (born 1968, Scotland) is best known as a painter, but print has a vital, indeed pre-eminent, place in his work. He often uses screenprint applied to newsprint paper which he then pastes directly to the wall. He has produced AGITPROP in this format, as well as impressions on fine art paper as here.

This piece reproduces a painting by Thomas Gainsborough illustrated in a book or catalogue. Fullerton has photocopied the open book and enlarged the image. Where his prints on newsprint seem to question the value and the longevity of print, this screenprint can be read as an attempt to re-inscribe value: it is printed with gold pigment, which is a standard signifier of value in Fullerton's work, and the image is of a painting by Gainsborough, a master of 18th-century portrait and landscape painting whose works are highly valued and are for the most part in museums or historic houses. Painting itself is deliberately referenced here as 'high art', indicative of status and reputation.

The title, AGITPROP, refers to a further set of ideas and influences. The work, which is a deliberately uneven and somewhat distorted version of the original book illustration, is intended to reference the political propaganda posters of the 1960s, often hand-made and usually screenprinted (notably the Atelier Populaire posters made by students during the events of 1968 in Paris - made quickly and cheaply as an immediate response to events, but now, ironically, valuable and highly collectable). For Fullerton, Gainsborough was also a political artist and his paintings propaganda for the landed classes who commissioned him to paint portraits of themselves, their children, their dogs and horses, and most importantly their land.

Fullerton's print is a fascinating exploration of the ideas and implications of reproduction, referencing a history of paintings - especially in the 18th century and 19th century - being reproduced as prints, and the current situation with books and catalogues now such an important medium for the dissemination of reproductions of paintings, historic and contemporary. At the same he suggests a kind of 'falling off', a gradual distortion and a loss of information (or 'failure of communication' as he has described it) in the successive layers of reproduction; nevertheless, even as a degraded imperfect copy many times removed from the original image, it remains legible as 'Gainsborough'

Physical description

Screenprint in gold ink on paper which reproduces a painting by Thomas Gainsborough.

Place of Origin

UK (printed)


2003 (printed)


Fullerton, Michael, born 1968 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Screenprint in gold ink on paper


Height: 70 cm, Width: 100 cm

Descriptive line

Screenprint, gold ink on paper, 'AGITPROP (PMS 871)', Michael Fullerton, UK, 2003.

Subjects depicted

Book; Painting


Prints; Scotland


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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