Mr. Zhang Biao is a very versatile artist in printmaking techniques as well as in his styles and in his subjects. He works in woodblock technique, etchings and lithographs. For us at artelino Mr. Zhang Biao has made himself a part of modern Chinese art history with just one print, titled "Fang Fang" - a milestone in modern Chinese printmaking in our view.
Mr.Zhang Biao was born in 1971 in Nanyang city of Henan province. He began his art studies in Nanyang technical secondary school, at the Fine Art department in 1986.
In 1990, he began to learn printmaking at the printmaking department of Tianjin Fine Art Academy. In 1996, he graduated with the bachelor degree. In 2003, after several years of teaching in Nanyang city, he returned to Tianjin Fine Art Academy and became a postgraduate. He received the master degree and now he works as a teacher of this academy.
We saw this print for the first time in the official catalog of the 17th National Chinese Printmaking Exhibition in Guiyang. It is the most important exhibition of art prints in China. Only the very best artists and print works are selected out of thousands of prints submitted by hundreds of artists. The exhibition takes place about every two years, each time in a different city.
Fang Fang was published on a full page in the official catalog of the exhibition. When we saw it, we were fascinated. This print was on top of a list of prints from the catalog that we had forwarded to our art agent in China. Only later we learned that this print received the outstanding prize of the 17th National Printmaking Exhibition - definitely one of the highest awards a printmaker can achieve in China.
"Fang Fang" is the name of Zhang Biao's little daughter. When he made this etching, she was 7 years old. Looking at the print one can feel how much Zhang Biao must love his daughter. The image is a synthesis of East and West. The little girl looks Chinese, but at the same time so much Western. She looks straight at the viewer - open and without any shyness. Her face expresses severity.
In our view Fang Fang stands for a whole new generation of Chinese youths that was born during the period of the economic boom and whose education and life-style will be a mixture of Western culture and old Chinese traditions - comparable to the cultural mix in post-war Japan of the 1960s.
Nearly one year after the 17th National Printmaking Exhibition our Chinese agent sent us an exciting e-mail. She had managed to contact the artist and get a copy of this incredible print. It is the number 8 out of an edition of 20. The technique is etching and it is printed on a thick, solid Chinese paper and with 96 by 50 centimeters (ca. 37 by 19 inches) pretty large. The print was made in 2005.
I produced this little video a few years ago.
Author: Dieter Wanczura