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Direct Observation

Works by Seven Contemporary Chinese Printmakers

13.03.07 - 23.03.07

Curated by Dr T. Zhou.

Works by seven contemporary Chinese printmakers: Chen Qi, He Kun, Lu Zhiping, Tang Chenghua, Su Xinping, Zhang Guanghui and Zhou Jirong.

This exhibition Direct Observation is intended to give you a first hand experience of the world of contemporary Chinese printmaking.

It is widely known that woodblock printing was invented in China about 1500 years ago. The art of printmaking has also long been practiced. However, the nature of contemporary Chinese printmaking is a direct result of western influences in the early twentieth century. At that time, China was experiencing tremendous social changes in which her traditional culture was reformed by modern western culture. Therefore, when creative printmaking was introduced as one of the western fine art forms, it was married to both traditional and revolutionary ideas in its practice and used as a propaganda tool in the wartime and political movements. Since then, contemporary Chinese printmaking has been a reflection of Chinese social phenomena. After the People’s Republic was founded in 1949, printmaking became a major fine art form which, to this day, is practiced by a significant number of artists and is taught as a major discipline in Chinese art schools.

The seven artists who are exhibiting their prints are all active printmakers with individual concerns. They teach printmaking at art academies in different regions of China and practice printmaking within different media, however, they are also working as a group called the China Printmaking Art Studios’ Alliance. The aim of their group is to share information and ideas as a network and to promote printmaking together in order to make a stronger case for the support and appreciation of the art form. The group meets regularly, and has exhibited prints together in many cities during the past five years. Each year the group holds a charity exhibition to donate their original prints to good causes. The artists enjoy exchanges between their individual printmaking studios and learning the cultural differences of their different regions. They appreciate the inspiration that this exchange has brought and look forward to extending the exchange to other regions of the world.

The thirty-five prints that constitute this exhibition can only be described as a “variety”. The prints were made during the period of the 1990s and until 2006; the prints employ various techniques such as woodcut, etching, carborundum, lithography and screen-printing. The subjects range from cities to countryside, from people to objects. The styles vary between figural to abstract. They reflect the cultural changes in Chinese society during the past seventeen years, when, once again, economic and social reform has changed every aspect of the Chinese peoples’ lives. Printmaking is the language these seven artists have chosen to express their observations, thoughts and feelings. Reflecting on these prints will help you to gain an understanding of contemporary Chinese printmaking, artists, people and society.

For more Information about MIRIAD\'s China Project see