|Chinese Art||Sign In | Register | Contact us | New User?|
Lü Min's artworks look as if they had been created by a lovely fairy from Shangri-la, the imaginary land described in the novel "Lost Horizon" in 1933 by James Hilton. And we are sure, if French writer and pilot Antoine de Sainte-Exupéry (1900-1944) still lived, he would have chosen Lü Min to illustrate his famous short novel of Le Petit Prince, the "Little Prince" who sees so many strange planets on his fantastic journey.
The images on this page are link-sensitive and take you to other articles or web sites in which you might be interested.
In contrast to the harmony of Lü Min's compositions, her name caused us some head scratching. In the Western art literature she is written as Lü Min with a character that we know well from the German language, but which is unknown on English keyboard displays. The artist herself signs her prints with "Lü Ming".
Well, when you are familiar with Japanese prints, you are familiar with name trouble. We decided to go with the flow and follow the writing of the two book publications by the Muban Foundation in London - using the German "Umlaut".
Lü Min was born in 1962 in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province. She graduated from the printmaking department of Yunan College of Arts where she had received a systematic and intensive training in printmaking and other art skills. Presently Lü Min is a member of China Artists Association, China Printmakers Association, a painter of the Kunming Printmaking Institute and director of Kunming Art Association.
What makes the art prints by Lü Min so impressive? In our opinion she has outstanding qualities in composition and in choosing the right mix of colors - combined with the ability to create scenes of appealing fantasy. All talents must come together to create an art print that not only captivates the viewer at the first moment, but does not lose anything of its fascination even after having seen an image for many years. That is what the art of making successful art, is all about.
The music composers of the 19th century had the ambition to express the characteristics of things or notions with music, like Smetana who masterly transformed the characteristics of a river, the Moldau flowing through Prague, into musical notes. Lü Min does the same with the art of printmaking. She transforms a notion, a subject, a message into a little symphony of colors and shapes. And when you see the final result, your first thought is: "Yes - that's it!"
When Lü Min received her first major award, she was only 24 years old. That was in 1986. Her art works then had all the typical characteristics which she has not abandoned ever since - the use of woodblocks and of oil-based inks and of course her way of making bold compositions with large flat areas and vivid colors. These early woodblock prints do also show the use of gradation to achieve a more three-dimensional effect by showing light and shadows. In the 1990s she further developed her style. Everything became more elaborate, more refined.
Whenever an artist finds his own way at a very young age, and if he becomes successful with it, he risks not to develop himself any further, of just making variations of a successful pattern. It may not be the immediate end of an artist's career, but it is often the beginning of a slow process of depletion. Salvador Dali once expressed it poignantly with the sentence:
"You cannot paint melting clocks for your whole life."
Lü Min has exhibited in public for more than twenty years. During this period her style has not made any abrupt changes. It rather developed slowly and continuously. It is a wonderful experience for someone who is confronted for the first time with more than a dozen of her art works from several periods.
Somewhere around the turn of the millenium she cautiously began to explore new horizons in subject, design and colors - like for instance "Paradise" from 2002. And what we see looks vibrant and strong. We are convinced that we will see many more interesting art works by her and will hear many more good news from this young Yunan artist.
Lü Min has exhibited in various international print shows in Japan, Austria (Vienna), Taiwan, Hong Kong and in Germany. Her artworks are among others in the possession of Yunnan Fine Art Museum, the Arts and Crafts Institute in Germany and the Shenzhou Prints Museum. The London based collection of 60 selected contemporary Chinese woodblock (Chinese: muban) prints of the Muban Foundation lists Lü Min as no. 29 of the portfolio.
The artist creates mainly reduction woodblock prints. It is a technique that was developed in Yunnan in the early 1980s by Cheng Hsu and other Yunan artists according to the information we have. It is a method of creating a multi-color woodblock print from just one block. The technique has several advantages for the creating artist - a better adjustment of different colors and thus more detailed images.
For the collector it is an assurance that no further editions can be pulled after the first one. The woodblock is destroyed by the working process in a natural way, as the design of the next color has to be cut on top on the old block.
According to the information we received by Lü Min, she also made a few multi-block prints - among them is the design made for the Muban Foundation - see pages 160/161 of the literature reference below. You find our review of this book on our page about books on Chinese prints.
Lü Min uses heavy oil-based inks, which make the print look like an oil-painting. It is the same type of ink that Hao Ping uses, another Yunan artist. Also the paper usually used by Lü Min, is the same as the one used by Hao Ping. It is a China-made, pliable paper of middle thickness.
As most Chinese printmakers do, also Lü Min creates small editions. We have seen editions from 10 up to 50 - not more. Before the turn of the millenium there was no art market in China. The future will show if and how this will change with the booming economy of the Chinese nation and its 1.3 billion population.
(October 2004, updated September 2009)
"The Art of Contemporary Chinese Woodcuts", A portfolio assembled by Christer von der Burg, with contributions by An Bin, Julia F. Andrews, David Barker, Hwang Yin, Ellen Johnston Laing and Frances Wood 9.25 x 13", 268 pp., 60 color and 171 b/w illustrations, paper, London, 2003.
The images on this web site are the property of the artist(s) and or the artelino GmbH and/or a third company or institution. Reproduction, public display and any commercial use of these images, in whole or in part, require the expressed written consent of the artist(s) and/or the artelino GmbH.
Works by emerging Chinese artists in BUYDIRECT.