Liu Qingyuan

(b. 1972)
Lives and works in Guangzhou, China
1996 Graduated from Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, China
Professor of Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, China

Woodcut Series

This is a grouping of woodcuts depicting everyday Chinese People in their modern lives. The subjects of these woodcuts were inspired by the Chinese Civil War and the People’s Liberation War during the 1920s to1940s, and the style by German Expressionism. The artist, Liu, Qingyuan was born in 1972 and lives in Guangdong, China. He does woodcut as if it was writing a journal entry everyday.

Woodcut carries a very special historical meaning different from any other kind of medium in China. Its reproduction and propagation had been popular from the 1930s to the China Civil War and the People’s Liberation War. Woodcut was used more as propaganda than an art media, and it was considered as a “revolutionary” weapon for Chinese Communism. Woodcut played a great part in the daily life of the Chinese masses as it fulfilled the demand for various social images and ideas, the positives of Communism or the negatives of Capitalism. After China’s opening to the Western countries in 1978 (known as the “Reform and Opening-up” policy), many mediums become more available for artists, so woodcut eventually lost its popularity. However, Liu still favors the monochrome woodcut and its relationship to reproduction and propagation. It seems ironic for him to use woodcut to question social problems, especially because woodcut was used as a propaganda tool for Chinese Communist Party. His woodcuts are not political announcements, but are about ordinary people of different classes from every corners of the society going about their everyday life.