One of the artists whose work we will showcase at the London Original Print Fair is Liu Jing. In our last blog post, he began to reflect on his ideas about art and printmaking after exhibiting in a solo show titled “Texture and Daily Life”, held earlier of this year in China. This is part two.
“My work doesn’t focus on trying to be traditional or contemporary. Tradition is good, contemporary is good too. If the work is neither traditional or contemporary, even better. Whats important is that I can live on what I like for many years; how lucky am I!
With my work, my only concern is that I want to do this and I like the way I’m doing things. I think it’s more interesting if I do something this way, that’s all. We know that traditional art today used to be contemporary art yesterday. All the cutting-edge and contemporary things today will become obsolete traditions sooner or later.
Does this have anything to do with me? Instead of worrying over these boring questions and trying to be a pioneer in the art world, I am more willing to get a block, take a knife, and easily sift a pile of sawdust. Or grind the stone, adjust some of the ink, and casually create some texture.
15,000 years ago, one afternoon in the southwest of France, the sun was warm with a gentle breeze. A content hunter who just had lunch woke up from snoozing. The prey in the cave behind him were enough for a few days and he was in a very good mood. Picking up a piece of brown soil from the ground, he painted a few wild horses on the stone wall in the cave to pass this long and boring afternoon. This is my imagination, but also a kind of art that I really love, and a leisurely style of art, although it is difficult to reach the state of real leisure and content!
My recent exhibition more or less revealed my dream, a kind of dream that printmaking gives me, and a refined ‘Daily Life’. In short, it is good to be a printer.”
Head back a post to read part 1 of Liu Jing’s comments on printmaking and be sure to visit us at stand 22 at the London Original Print Fair at the Royal Academy of Arts April 25-28, 2019 to see his work for yourself. If you’re interested in free or discounted tickets to the event, please contact us (available while supplies last).
One of the artists whose work we will showcase at the London Original Print Fair is Liu Jing. Below, he reflects on his ideas about art and printmaking after exhibiting in a solo show titled “Texture and Daily Life”, held earlier of this year in China.
“This is my 18th year of printmaking. This is what I have repeatedly told people recently. From the age of 18 to 36, I have devoted possibly the best of years in my life to printmaking. Please note that I am talking about printmaking, not art. In my case, printmaking is much more interesting and pure than art. I never have the idea of devotion to art, but I really believe that I can spend my whole life making prints. It’s not so important to do it better or the best in this field. Is there anything more interesting in the world than prints? In my opinion, no!
Many people asked me why I chose this unpopular art form back in my college days. In fact, it was because of the third year students who told me that ‘to study oil painting is very expensive; to learn Chinese painting you need high level of calligraphy skills’. So printmaking was the only option left.
One afternoon in my second year of university, I saw a book of ‘Chinese contemporary lithography’ in an antique bookstore in Er Fuzhuang, behind the college. I accidentally found one of my works was published in the book. Since then, I convinced myself that I was born for printmaking and no matter how difficult life has been, the situation has never changed.
Today, artists are generally afraid to limit themselves to a certain field. They are afraid that their identity is too specific and they are afraid of being conservative. Printmakers are also often afraid of being called printers, and always emphasise that they are artists. My ambition is not the same. I am eager to be able to embrace technical limitation and to make my work more authentic.
European and American artists were doing Dada off-canvas, ‘concept art’, breakthrough performances on the earth decades before us. As far as I can see, those artists have already settled down, calmed down, and let all art forms return to health, equality and order, with no more criticism and favouritism.
Every artist works on their own work, to have peace of mind. In English, the worker is called Artist; the printer is called Printmaker; and the very skilful technician is called Master Printer, which is extremely respectful of technology.
If you don’t have technique, you don’t have prints. If you don’t want to talk about technique, then don’t do prints.”
Come back next week for part 2 of Liu Jing’s comments on printmaking and be sure to visit us at stand 22 at the London Original Print Fair at the Royal Academy of Arts April 25-28, 2019 to see his work for yourself. If you’re interested in free or discounted tickets to the event, please contact us (available while supplies last).
For our coming exhibition at the London Original Print Fair, we have a great collection of original prints from a group of four Chinese artists. Prints depict styles from Northern China’s multi-blocks woodcut as seen in the work of Liu Decai to Southern China’s reduction woodcut, as used by Zhang Xiaochun. Our young artist Liu Jing’s eye-catching portraits series is created with his own new woodcut technique, and we will also have young female artist Hammer Chen’s etchings on display.
Here are a few highlights from our exhibition. Visit us at the Royal Academy of Arts to see more wonderful contemporary prints from us. We are located at stand 22 this year.
Image: ‘Northern, Autumn Charm II’, Edition 24/50, woodcut by Liu Decai
Image: ‘Illusion Dream’, Edition:12/25, 100cm x70cm, woodcut by Zhang XiaoChun
‘Master’, a series by Liu Jing, is an experimental collection of work which combines woodcut, lithography and other contemporary techniques to create a new language that is far different from traditional woodcut. He has created a series of portraits of modern Chinese literary masters, using this technique to express their magnanimity and spirit. Those prints are in-depth and rich in the pursuit of details in the moulding; at the same time, there are weakened contours and edges, used to create the flow and rhyme of the lines.
Why chose portraits as a theme? Because they are suitable for language experiments and technical attempts. The portrait is also the most direct and purest method of expression.
Image: ‘Master’, 60x90cm, woodcut by Liu Jin
One of the talented emerging female Chinese artists we will be exhibiting the London Original Print Fair is Hammer Chen, whose creative life bounces between Shanghai and London. Hammer is a printmaker, an artist and illustrator whose work, as she puts it, stems from an interest in using marks and textures to express sensations and emotions. Her subject is Maladaptive Daydreaming. “Maladaptive daydreaming is a psychological concept to describe an extensive fantasy activity that replaces human interaction and interferes with academic, interpersonal, or vocational functioning.” So the series of works is exploring fantasy, struggle, disconnect between mind, body and self.
Image: ‘The Self’, an etching by Hammer Chen
We hope to see you at the fair, April 25-28. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to book free tickets, while they last!
More information on the fair itself can be found on the London Original Print Fair website.