Words by By Fan DiAn (Dean of the Central Academy of Fine Art)
Recently, artist Tang Chenghua has embarked on a journey of rediscovering the traditions of his Chinese cultural roots.
For many years his main practice has been in printmaking. He has a lot of experience in printmaking, therefore, he has always focused on how to interact with the roots of Chinese tradition through printing language. He completed further study and research of Chinese paper and Chinese printing, especially the process of making Chinese paper to define his artistic concept and culture.
He went to deep in the mountains of Sichuan to learn about the technology and join in on the folk workshops of papermaking in order to create a type of paper made of silk. He has not only broken through the original paper-making technology but also, and more importantly, he discovered “Tang silk”, the artistic roots of Chinese silk paper.
His approach and concept is very interesting. He goes back to the purest starting point, and then reconnects with the silk paper in terms of texture, medium, size and performance in an emotional, conceptual and cultural way.
This time, though he dedicated himself to this traditional proposition, he is actually a contemporary artist who injects new life into the traditional culture roots. Therefore, since he completed the transformation, there are traces of printmaking in his new artworks — not prints anymore, but painting marks. His work is not simply a painting on paper; rather it brings together his own self and comprehensive environment with the whole process of creating silk paper, plus the visual work formed by working with the silk paper. His artworks have become spaces in which a lot of information is condensed.
These works will bring a new experience to his audience, and we can see that the art of Tang Chenghua is moving towards an even broader scope yet to come.
It was 40 degrees celsius while he was creating his newest works this summer, shown here. These works will exhibit next week through the end of December 2019 in London’s Belgravia at our Henley & Partners exhibition. Viewings are by appointment only. Please contact us to arrange.