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If you like woodblock prints, colors, a vivid expressive style and images from the Yunnan Highlands that look like Shangri-la, the mysterious land first described for Westerners by James Milton in his novel "The Lost Horizon", then Mr. Li Yonggang will be "your" artist. And if you prefer reduction woodblock prints in small editions, Li Yonggang will be twice "your" artist.
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Currently Mr. Li Yonggang is a resident artist of Qujing Printmaking Institute. He was born in Qujing of Yunnan Province in 1973. In 1995 he graduated from the department for Design of Kunming Science and Technology Institute. And in 2003 he graduated from the Fine Arts Institute of Yunnan Art University.
Now he is vice president of Qujing Printmaking Institute, member of Yunnan Fine Art Artists Association, member of Yunnan Printmaking Art Committee, vice secretary general of Qujing Fine Arts Association and a national artist of grade three.
Li Yonggang is an important new young artist of Yunnan province. His reduction woodcut print Year of the Highlands obtained the copper prize of the 10th National Fine Arts Exhibition (the top class comprehensive fine arts exhibition hold one time each 5 years by the Chinese government).
In 2006 he obtained the "Prize of Literature and Arts Talent" awarded by the Yunnan province government. The same year Li Yonggang obtained the award of "Excellent Artist both in Arts and Morality" sponsored by the government of Yunnan province.
Works of the artist were collected by the Chinese Fine Arts Museum, the Guizhou Fine Arts Museum and the Yunnan Fine Arts Museum. Several of his works were published in the art magazines Fine Arts Observation, Fine Arts and Chinese Printmaking.
We received our first art prints by Li Yonggang in springtime of 2007 as part of a very large shipment from China that seemed to follow Murphy's law: "Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong." Fortunately the art prints by Mr. Li Yonggang reached us safe and undamaged.
It is hard not to be mesmerized by these woodblock prints in reduction woodcut technique. The images make the impression of bursting of energy and of peace and tranquility at the same time. Yes - this must be the mysterious Shangri-La! These images remind us of our own experiences of great hiking tours in remote mountainous areas of Southern Tyrol or Nepal. The colors are so strong and nevertheless they harmonize perfectly no matter from which distance and angle you look at these prints. Such images can only be created by an artist who loves mountains and who loves this land.
The edition sizes of the prints we saw so far were small - from 15 to 30. They were well printed with thick oil-based colors. And the best of all: they were created as reduction woodblock prints, and thus it is impossible to pull more impressions than the originally planned edition size. The process of creating a reduction woodblock print is irreversible. At the end the woodblock is practically destroyed and not usable for further impressions.
Author: Dieter Wanczura
May 2007, updated August 2009)
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Works by emerging Chinese artists in BUYDIRECT.