Postscript of 2007 Guanlan International Print Biennial

Issuing time:2007-05-20 16:51Author:Zhu Fan

China·Guanlan Print Original Industry Base should be mentioned first while talking about China · Guanlan International Printmaking Biennial.

In May 2006, Bao'an District People's Government, China Artists' Association and Shenzhen Federation of Literary and Art Circles reached consensus on the Second China (Shenzhen) International Cultural Industry Expo. They decided to join hands to build the China·Guanlan Print Original Industry Base and to build up world reputation for China's printmaking industry through world-class art exhibitions. It is aimed to lead the international development trend of China printmaking industry through creation of quality original prints. The base is a comprehensive project with the combination of print creation, production, exhibition, collection, communication, research, training and market development. It is the coordination of China printmaking undertakings and printmaking industry. The Guanlan Base has been taken as part of the 11th Five Year Plan of Shenzhen Cultural industry development strategy.

Guanlan, a historical city in East Jin Dynasty and an important town of Bao'an county, has developed into a modern city with an area of 89.8 square kilometers and a total population of over 500 000. The city is well-known for its Mission Hills Golf Club. Guanlan city is historically known as the "City of Culture", which enjoys rich cultural resources. It emphasizes the development of culture and education. Guanlan is the hometown for Chen Yanqiao, a student of Luxun and one of the first Chinese printmakers,   an art theoretician, an educator and one of the initiators of China's printmaking movement. The central district of the print base is located in Da Shuitian - a ancient Hakka village with a history of more than 200 years.

The three parties have every resolve to develop the printmaking base into a creation base for Chinese printmaking high-end original works, a professional and authoritative printmaking research and collection institution, a sale and exhibition center for printmaking works, a sale center for printmaking tools and materials, a teaching practice base for higher fine arts colleges nationwide and a publicizing center of printmaking knowledge. China · Guanlan International Printmaking Biennial, China · Guanlan Art Museum of Printmaking, Printmaking Workshop and Original Printmaking Trade Fair, which are at international level, are all the brand projects developed by the printmaking base as standing academic communication and exchanges projects.

China·Guanlan International Printmaking Biennial is an international academic communication project aiming at printmaking creation, which includes two parts - works exhibition and academic seminar. The exhibition is held biannually. It is a high-end exhibition stressing the importance of academic component, artistry and technicality. Each exhibition has a fixed academic theme. The object of the exhibition is creation, individuality and technicality. In terms of the style of the works, we adopt an open and comprehensive attitude and emphasize the creation conditions of the artists and the inner language of the prints. It provides a crucial platform and window for mutual understanding between China and the rest of the world. "Guanlan International Printmaking Award" is an academic award at world level. The first China · Guanlan International Printmaking Biennial opens on May 16, 2007, after 11 months' preparation work.

The symbol of the biennial is from the idea of one of the curators, Guang Jun. In Guanlan Art Museum, Guang Jun drew, with a brush, two arrows pointing forward in dotted line and in solid line respectively. The two arrows symbolize the improvement of the printmaking exhibition biannually. One of the arrows is pointing at the 2007 China · Guanlanwhile the other arrow is pointing at the 2009 China · Guanlan. The symbol, with traditional Chinese writing, expresses a stronger regional feature.

The jury of the exhibition is made up of Chinese experts who have rich experience in international printmaking communication and are familiar with evaluation of printmaking works. They are recommended by fine arts committees and approved by CAA. The foreign judges are also experienced and authoritative experts in international printmaking activities. The number of judges for final evaluation is supposed to be 9, including 4 foreign judges and 5 Chinese judges. However, because the American judge can't show up, the number of judges is reduced to 8. In the initial evaluation on Mar. 6, 2007, there were 12 judges - Liu Dawei, Dong Xiaoming, Guang Jun, Qi Fengge, Jiang Lu, QijiaDawa, Huang Qiming, Sui Zigeng, Lu Zhiping, Hao Ping, Dai Daquan and Chen Long. The original foreign works and the photos of Chinese works were evaluated. 424 works were selected from 1976 works for the final evaluation. Dai Zhiqi and Zhu Fan were the chief director and director of the jury respectively for both the initial and final evaluation.

Judges for the final evaluation on Mar. 31 were Donald Urquhart (Britain), Fumio Nanjo (Japan), Youn,Myeung-Ro (Korea), Wu Changzhang, Dong Xiaoming, Jiang Lu, Zhang Yuanfan, Hao Ping. The curators couldn't participate in the voting procedure. The final evaluation was based on the rules of the 10th National Art Exhibition, which was characterized by combination of evaluation and discussion. According to the rules, judges exchanged their views on the works before voting by ballot. Judges voted independently. Then the votes were tallied transparently. During the process of tally, a foreign judge raised a question about works No. 26 for Dai Zhiqi -the chief director; because he remembered that he didn't vote for it. The tally team stopped their work immediately and checked all the votes. The judge was asked to recognize his votes. It turned out that he forgot he has voted for it. The story was a false alarmbut it proved the quality of the evaluation work. There were two series of voting for selected works and awarded works respectively. The Chinese judges who had participated in National Art Exhibition were more familiar with the voting procedure. Some foreign judge asked why there was another round of voting. In their countries, each judge put a slice of paper on the works that they thought should get the prize, so there was only one round of voting. Dai Zhiqi, vice secretary of CAA answered the question. He said the foreign way of voting had been adopted in China before, but it was proved to be not scientific. Such an approach involved subjective influences and was not good for judges to express their own views. That was why we didn't use such an approach in large-scale activity. In addition, Dai pointed out that the first round of voting was for selected works. Judges might have different attitude and opinion from voting for awarded works. Certain works might win many more votes, perhaps every judge would vote for it. However, such works might not win any vote in the second round for awarded works. The practice had approved the correctness of such a method. One of the works in this year's exhibition had won 7 votes from 8 judges in the first round, but it didn't get any vote in the second round. The interpreter had understood the rules and translated them accurately to the foreign judges. The judges recorded the voting procedure by taking notes and photos.

Another feature of the voting rules is the strict, standardized and scientific re-discussion process. Every voting result needed to be re-discussed. First, re-vote for works of re-discussion from selected works. Second, re-vote for works of re-discussion from non-selected works. Every judge could propose only one works in each re-discussion process. After exchange of view, judges vote for the approval of works for re-discussion. The former voting result could only be changed with the approval of 2/3 of the judges. The re-discussion was a process of exchanging academic and cultural views. It was filled with academic atmosphere, a friendly and tense environment. There were 11 works in the re-discussion for selected works. 7 of them were approved for re-discussion with a majority of 2/3 of the votes. Among them, 6 works were finally selected, while 1 was excluded. There was 1 works for re-discussion of awarded works and was finally excluded.

The judges were satisfied with the 15 works of "Guanlan International Printmaking Award". Finally, every judge recommended one work from all the selected works. All of them had chosen one from the 15 awarded works. "Special Recommendation of the Judge" was proposed by the foreign judges and was adopted after discussion.

The evaluating work was tense and serious. It was especially hard for a 70-year-old judge to walk several times through the exhibition hall to evaluate every piece of works. The staff was diligent and responsible. They must wear white gloves while moving the exhibited works. They had no time to go out for lunch, because they had to tally the votes at break. It impressed the judges a lot.

It is the first time for Guanlan to hold such a large-scale activity. The local government is resolved to set up specialized office and form professional team to allocate the work. Curator assistants are appointed by CAA to coordinate the work in Guanlan. The exhibition hall has been re-constructed and enlarged for the biennial. All of the picture frames, strings and lights are new. With the joint efforts of related organizations and departments, the exhibition is proved to be a great success. So far, it is an international printmaking gala with the largest number and the best quality of exhibited works. In order to coordinate with China · Guanlan International Printmaking Biennial, Children's Art Committee of CAA has organized the first International Children's Printmaking Exhibition consisting of works from Chinese and foreign children. Children from Shenzhen city, Bao'an District and Guanlan Street have also exhibited their works. The participation of children has injected more dynamism into the gala. At the same time, experts from the art circles can perceive the strong reserve power of future printmaking development.

Hereby, our heartfelt thanks go to every institutions and individuals that have spared no efforts in making the exhibition a great success. Let's meet in Guanlan in 2009.

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