Issuing time:2019-05-20 11:01Author:Su Xinping

This is the seventh China Guanlan International Print Biennial. The number of participating countries has increased from 57 more than a decade ago to this year’s 105; what’s more, the number of submitted works has reached more than 4000, reflecting a remarkable increase in the Biennial’s international influence, epitomizing China’s growing comprehensive national strength. That the works can be selected and even awarded here has become an important academic proof that Chinese printmakers have been recognized by their international peers. The uniqueness, degree of completion and difficulty of creation are the basic criteria for evaluation. Uniqueness means whether the artist has his/her own mature and personalized formal language. Degree of completion means whether the works’ visual language is full and powerful, while the difficulty of creation involves the artists’ quality requirements and spirit of exploration of the materials, technologies and techniques. The works to be exhibited in this Biennial indicate the following characteristics:

I.High degree of specialization This refers to the expression of a concept visualized by the artist through printmaking. “Specialization” refers to the overall appropriateness and effectiveness of the work. Chinese artists mostly use various explicit symbols to combine different “distant realities” into new realities; while the foreign (especially the European) artists focus more on the graphic nature of printmaking language, for example, creating rich and thick abstract or expressive images with textures and outstanding visual effects.

II.Rich humanistic content Whether it’s the application of national styles in different national works or the exploration of forms to highlight the personalized language characteristics, “humanistic content” reflects the printmakers’ broad thinking and the deep concern for social realities. This is the holistic artistic consensus of -- and appropriate humanistic response by -- the international printmaking community under the global context of the rapid development of new media and high-tech intelligent technologies, reflecting the effectiveness and aesthetic appeal of printmaking as an international universal art language.

III.The characteristics of printmaking types and the subjects of representation no longer have a single directive Although printmaking relies heavily on the materials for production and certain inherent aesthetic characteristics have been formed in history, these works don’t highlight the traditional styles of classical printmaking on the whole. Instead, they give way to the unique image layout, the process of printing and the casual manual participation. I think this should be the trend for printmaking to break through the restrictions of the process, to integrate concept and freedom of forms, which is also enlightening for current domestic printmaking in terms of development of direction.

Compared with other printmaking exhibitions in the world, Guanlan International Print Biennial has demonstrated pragmatic and efficient styles of Shenzhen special economic zone since China’s reform and opening up, either from its preparation, solicitation of work, selection or exhibition arrangement. Actually, this is also a kind of working attitude endowed upon the artists and originating from the systematic printing technologies, which enables us not only to retain the ancient spirit of craftsman, but also to gain exchanges and updates of concepts through the relationship with the dynamic city of Shenzhen.

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