The Extension and Context Change of Guanlan International Print Biennial

Issuing time:2011-05-20 16:16Author:Su Xinping

Chinese Printmaking enters a new era of diverse artistic ideas and thoughts in the twenty first century. Over the past ten years, print art sought development while adhering to its traditions, and we can clearly see that new energy was injected without breaking the realistic traditions established by its forerunners. Modern Chinese printmaking is a faithful reflection of the modern age, clearly conveying the message it intends to send. Meanwhile, the exploration and practice of the artistic language of print has never stopped, and a growing number of printmakers realized the importance of searching for new form and individual artistic language. Great print works of advanced technique and distinctive style began to develop. Apart from this, experiments were conducted to find a new pattern. We noticed that some very sensitive artists, in response to the development of contemporary culture, are trying to examine the possibilities of extending the boundaries of print and changing the language used by printmaking artists.   

In their artistic experiments, they employed new concepts and methods which heralded a new era. Among these experimentalists, there are many who, after showing their works in big exhibitions, caught the attention of the artistic community. It is clear that Chinese printmaking is seeking a way to develop itself without breaking the artistic tradition. Today, culture and art are developing at a quick pace. Taking the road of diversified development will help the print art transcend its own limitations and get back on track.   

We can say, for the occasion of the Guanlan International Print Biennial, it is epic-making to include these experimental print works in our exhibition. This is compatible with the "openness" of the Biennial and the goal of keeping pace with the times. Personally, I think that including the experimental print works in this big and government-oriented exhibition is a clear recognition of the new print pattern and the experimental spirit. By doing this, we want the experimentalists to know that we appreciate and respect what they are doing now.

To put on a great show of experimental works, which faithfully reflect the status quo of the experimental print, the organizing committee, artists, and curators have done a lot of work. After analyzing the information related to experimental print, we selected Chen Xiaowen, Tan Ping, Chen Qi, Kang Jianfei, Huang Yang from the experimental artists both at home and abroad. These five artists have made great achievements in experimental print. Considering the relationship between experimental works and the whole Biennial and the limitation of exhibition space, the curators arranged a tour of the exhibition hall to give the artists an opportunity to get to know the natural environment, cultural and historical background and its space structure. Keeping all this in mind, the five artists began their work. Their concerns were not about printmaking processes and materials but about the simple housing, its history, surroundings and space structure. They were also required to combine print language and concept in a personal way in their works. To finish their work in the given time, they had to adopt a new approach and include several media in one work. Undoubtedly, this was very challenging. In spite of these difficulties, they all met the demands and finished their works in due time.

Now, when we look back, we can see that these five artists as printmakers have completely designed a new model of making print art. Their courage to use different media is very inspring. Although the experimental works is only a small fraction of the whole exhibition, they give us the confidence that we can go further in printmaking. I also believe that as more and more experimental works are included in exhibitions, a sound development of Chinese printmaking will take place.

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