Contemporary by Angela Li is proud to present “A Schema for Printmaking”, representing such highly acclaimed artists as Fang Lijun, Xu Bing, Tan Ping and Hong Hao.
Artists in this exhibition began their artistic journeys in printmaking, using various methods such as woodcutting, engraving, lithography or silkscreen printing, and each has made remarkable achievements in their printmaking practices, enriching the world of print art with their many works. In addition, they have all touched on a wide range of other fields such as conceptual art, oil painting, photography, installation, oil printing and other new media. As they use these other mediums, printmaking has provided sustenance, and as these various fields draw nourishment from and influence each other, these artists have created new possibilities for art.
In this exhibition, we discuss one particular issue in printmaking, that of originality. This is a concept from western printmaking. According to this concept, artists must grasp a series of techniques, such as drawing, carving and printing, to engage in original creation.
Printmaking is a system. It is one of the oldest international art forms. It can be traced back over a thousand years in China, or even earlier, beginning with woodcut printing traditions. From the earliest recorded woodblock printed scroll, the Tang dynasty Dharma Sermon (868 AD), to the woodcut illustrations of serial novels and folk New Year calendars in the Ming and Qing dynasties, printmaking has served the dual functions of printing and dissemination; western printing, which emerged roughly 500 years after its appearance in China, belongs to the same realm. It was not until the 18th century, when western artists began to directly draw images, carve and print them, that the concept of “printmaking” became independent from printing technology.