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February 6, 2010

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A print maker re-imagines the vase

CHINESE prints, which were very popular in the 1980s, have faded in appeal because easy reproduction makes them a poor investment. Of course, there still are people who appreciate the print maker's art.

Veteran print artist Lu Zhiping is trying to freshen up the genre in solo show underway at the Shanghai Art Museum.

"I am an advocate for prints. Prints are beautiful and creative and, unlike oil painting or sculpture, within everyone's reach," Lu says at the opening.

Few art forms are so clearly stamped with China's social changes over the past 100 years, including 1930s woodblock prints about peasant life and prints from the tumultuous "cultural revolution" (1966-76).

"I know many people are prejudiced against Chinese prints," Lu says. "But as an art form, prints have a unique power of expression."

Lu's artworks link ancient Chinese culture and modern aesthetic taste.

The vase, perhaps the most traditional icon, inspires the artist and opens possibilities for deciphering new meanings. Lu's extensive knowledge of silk screen process and copperplate etching add further dimensions.

"I never think that print art is not mainstream," he says. "Of course, traditional print making might be outdated, yet print making is not out, it only demands new 'blood' like a contemporary concept or a novel arrangement."

Date: through February 9, 9am-5pm

Venue: Shanghai Art Museum, 325 Nanjing Rd W.

Tel: 6327-2829


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