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In jeans and anorak, in the background the image of an industrial complex somewhere in Hubei province of China. The young man looks rather inconspicuous and a bit camera-shy. He is Mr. Hu Xinqiao whose works have become a symbol of an important trend in modern Chinese art, the alienation of the city dweller.
The woodblock print 'City Series No. 1: Stretching' is discussed in detail in the standard book 'The Art of Contemporary Chinese Woodcuts' in an article contributed by An Bin, a famous Chinese artist himself.
Mr. Hu Xinqiao created the City Series in 1998, when he was only 26 years old.
We received our first consignment of art prints by Hu Xinqiao in late 2006 - several Chinese woodblock prints and one lithograph. What astonished us immediately is the extremely fine rendering of these prints. The prints from the City series are made in woodblock technique. They are printed in black and white on a Chinese paper of thin to middle thickness. Edition sizes are 25 copies - signed, numbered, titled and dated by the artist in pencil.
Mr. Hu Xinqiao was born in 1972 in Hanyang city of Hubei province. In 1995 he finished his studies of printmaking at Hubei Art Academy. The young artist is a member of Hubei Artists Association. Currently he works as a teacher at Hubei Art Academy.
The following text is an excerpt from an article titled "Chinese Prints Between 1985 and 2000" written by famous Chinese artist An Bin, born 1962.
"Depicting the alienation of the city dweller and the alienating effects of his surroundings is a trend among many younger artists. These are the sentiments expressed in City Series No. 1: Stretching, a black-and-white print by a young Hubei artist, Hu Xinqiao, which was exhibited in Nanjing at the 14th National Print Exhibition in 1998."
"The composition centers on a road depicted in extreme perspective, with a chink of sky emerging from the black background. People are crowded on the narrow road; there is a throng of pedestrians, and among them a motorcyclist and a cyclist negotiating the path. At the front, a blindfolded young man leads a little girl. This is travel without a visual destination; the sense of uncertainty is enhanced by the black background which is suggestive of an unsavoury environment. "
"The message here is clear: amid the material prosperity of the city, the mutual enjoyment and reliance of the people can also create barriers to interaction between man and nature. Man cannot avoid the alienation from nature, he can only continue along his path not knowing whether he moves towards good or bad fortune. A powerful opposition is created by the placement of delicately cut realistic figures amidst a contrived background that is far removed from the three-dimensionality of reality, this encourages the viewer to meditate upon their own circumstances in life."
Page 100 of the book The Art of Contemporary Chinese Woodcuts.
Author: Dieter Wanczura
(November 2006, updated November 2009)
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Works by emerging Chinese artists in BUYDIRECT.