Words by Yang Pengcheng
In 2013, I became the postgraduate student of professor Chen Qi. During the three years of my study, I have researched the physical properties of woodblock prints and printmaking, such as colour, water, paper and woodblock. By a rigorous experiment with altitude and a scientific analysis, I systematically researched the media of woodblock print, so that the empirical technology of water-based woodcut that has its roots in the past can be developed into a knowledge system that can then be quantified and analysed. I turned all of the experimental results into a handmade book which I’ve named The Physical Property Research of Water-Based Woodcut. My work, which details the material properties and possibilities of various elements involved in the printmaking process, will provide significant assistance as well as guidance to other artists.
The Physical Property Research of Water-Based Woodcut, Handmade Book, Variable Size, 2016
The Physical Property Research of Water-Based Woodcut–Pigment Water Quality Experiment (Local Details）
In the work’s Brand’s Riddles series, I was trying to construct a composite compound which consists of the ‘lizard property’ of chameleons’ color transformation ability and the ‘mirror property’ of mirrors’ object image reflection property. I used lines to show the structure and biological nature of the chameleon’s body. While printing, the unique language of woodblock print has highlighted the virtual, density, humidity and shallow changes between the lines, which make the chameleon look vivid and natural. The chameleon’s reflection in the mirror is created by overprint techniques. And the concave-convex square carved on the plate, which looks like the coding sequence of 0 and 1, forms the image of a pixel chameleon which is a deconstruction of the main body. This dual feature of abstract linearity and digital magic, on the one hand, stems from my understanding and love of traditional line engraving; on the other hand, it is also deeply influenced by today’s digital image technology, which I’ve experimented with as a method of personal expression while creating these images.
Brand’s Riddles No.2, Woodblock Print, 86cm×86cm, 2016 (1)
Brand’s Riddles No.3, Woodblock Print, 180cm×85cm, 2016 AND Brand’s Riddles No.4, Woodblock Print, 180cm×85cm, 2016
Brand’s Riddles No.5, Woodblock Print, 95cm×82cm, 2019
Brand’s Riddles No.6, Woodblock Print, 95cm×82cm, 2019 (1)
Since my Ph.D. enrolment in 2017, I have concentrated more on the ontological language of woodblock print. Its unique physical characteristics and ontological texture are composed of Xuan Paper, wood board, and water-based pigments. Among them, the interwoven and overlapping imprints are mixed with paper curtain texture, water stain, and pigment granules that fuse and produce a unique ontological texture, which can hardly be achieved by any other general painting techniques. The new experimental works show my thinking about the choice of media, the relationship between the media characteristics of watermarking prints and the ontological language, and the relationship between media itself. At the same time, in the process of plate making and printing, I focused on the full expression of the media properties and expansion of the performance of different media. Through my work, I wish to create a brand new printmaking language for artistic expression.
Conservation No.4, Woodblock Print, Variable Size, 2019
15X, Woodblock Print, 45cm×150cm, 2019