Influence on contemporary Chinese printmaking
The aims of this thesis are to identify the influences on contemporary Chinese
Printmaking (1990 - 2002) from China's tradition and the influences from
contact with the West.
This thesis begins with a history of Chinese printmaking which is based on
material collected from published literature and museums. This history started
with the Tang dynasty (618AD-907AD), and goes up to the various economic,
cultural, political and military influences of the nineteenth and twentieth
centuries. It is shown that printmaking has been particularly affected by these
wider social changes.
The main empirical study focused on the nature and direction of recent changes
in printmaking, notably in style, artistic development and economic purpose. It
was conducted through video-taped interviews, with artists, and owners of
studios and galleries in China. Those interviews were structured around
questionnaires which asked about the purpose, forms and markets in
printmaking practices and operations. The data were analysed by identifying
the main themes in the transcripts, and written up as case studies. These are in
three sections: artists, studios and institutes, and galleries. Finally this
contemporary research was linked back to issues which emerged during the
initial historical review.
The major conclusions are:
1. Contemporary Chinese Printmaking bears mixed influence. The major
influences come from western contemporary culture and there are also degrees
of influence from Chinese revolutionary and traditional cultures.
2. Contemporary Chinese printmaking is in a process of transformation.
The model examined in this thesis is in the process of change to a contemporary
model which can interact with the market economic system, but how close it
will get to the western contemporary model is still not clear.
3. Contemporary Chinese Printmaking is developing in a context of
cultural change which features the confrontation between the market economy
system, the remains of a planned economic system, and some resurgence of
The author concludes with the hope that the continuing influence of traditional
and revolutionary culture in this modernising society may lead to a new era of
printmaking which will integrate and balance uniquely Chinese elements with
modern Western approaches