Around the block
By Stephanie Rieke-Miller
“Multiple Impressions: Contemporary Chinese Woodblock Prints” presents works by 41 leading printmakers from contemporary China to showcase the extraordinary innovations, in both technique and conception, which have transformed this long-established art form in recent years.
The exhibition at the University of Michigan Museum of Art features 114 works by such artists as Xu Bing, Kang Ning, Song Yuanwen, Chen Qi, He Kun, and Fang Limin, as well as many other accomplished printmakers. Curated by Xiaobing Tang, Helmut F. Stern Professor of Modern Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan and organized by UMMA with the assistance and cooperation of the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, China, this exhibition-the largest examination of contemporary Chinese prints in the US since 2000-will provide an important framework for understanding both contemporary art from China and contemporary Chinese society.
The exhibit runs through Oct. 23.
Left: Liu, Darling of the Times 4
When the first public exhibition of modern-style woodblock prints took place in Shanghai in June 1931, it heralded an explosive art movement that helped shape the course of modern Chinese art history in the 20th century and has remained a vital part of contemporary China’ s artistic language. Multiple Impressions refers to both the complex process of making a print-especially when the traditional moveable multi-block method is employed-and the vibrant and diverse visions and vocabularies reflected in contemporary Chinese prints. The exhibition underscores the printmakers’ search for a new visual language and subject matter-in self-conscious competition with oil and ink-and-brush painters on the one hand and mass-produced print culture on the other.
Multiple Impressions was organized by the University of Michigan Museum of Art with the cooperation and support of the China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China. It is made possible in part by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, the E. Rhodes & Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, and the University of Michigan Center for Chinese Studies, Confucius Institute, and Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. Additionally, UMMA gratefully acknowledges the University of Michigan Office of the President and Office of the Provost for their ongoing support.