Risograph is a lesser known high-speed digital printing system produced by the Riso Kagaku Corporation since 1986. The technology is ideal for medium quantities of prints. It is cheaper and faster than reproduction on photocopier from about twenty copies, up to about ten thousand copies, where use of commercial offset printing proves more economical. The original is scanned from the glass of the machine and it is burned into a sheet called master, which is then wrapped onto a rotating printing drum. The burned voids in the master allow the ink to print through onto a sheet of paper, which makes it similar to silkscreen printing or mimeograph.
Originally, risograph was intended for fast reproduction of utility prints, but it has gained a worldwide popularity among publishers in lower numbers of copies thanks to its low costs, speed and interesting quality of the print. It can print in many direct hues and it is possible to make combined prints using more colours. It has become popular also among artists for prints and posters. Risography has seen large gain in popularity in western Europe in the first decade of 21st century in the scene of DIY zine publishing.
Risography is the printing technique used by Lukáš Parolek, graduate from the studio of Illustration and Graphics at the Academy of Arts, Architecture & Design in Prague. Under his label of Kudla Press (or alternatively Kudla Werkstatt) he creates his own as well as publications in collaborations at various levels, where he often plays the key role for the final appearance of the printed work. Sometimes his work is more that of that of a craftsman who comes up with ordering of the pages, quality of paper or type of binding, at other times all he receives is a few drawings and a text file. He also often calls in graphic designers for collaboration. In addition to risography he complements his publications with other techniques, especially with hand-made silkscreen prints, or other techniques, in binding he uses various combinations. His book design is characterised with simplicity and precision. Lukáš Parolek finds a unique place between worlds of craft and art, between illustration and conceptual art, between DIY zine publishing culture and official book production. He works with artists, graphic designers, comic book authors and illustrators. Among the artist he has collaborated with are mostly his colleagues from the Academy of Fine Arts, Architecture and Design, such as Juliána Chomová, Martin Prudil, David Krňanský or Martin Lukáč and from wider circle that includes Pavla Malinová, Tomáš Roubal or Eva Jaroňová. He also prints invites, posters and catalogues for galleries and other institutions, for example Etc. Gallery, Ferdinand Baumann Gallery, Berlinskej Model, Nevan Contempo or Futura Center for Contemporary Art. He has produced several publications that have received awards in The Most Beautiful Czech Books competition. While Kudla Press is a label reserved for production of publications where he is mostly a co-author to some extent or has produced them from his own initiative, Kudla Werkstatt designates wider range of printing activities.

Radim Labuda

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