Date: May 12th to Jun 17th
For many artists, paper is not a destination but a midway during the journey of making art; works on paper are not final products but sketches or drafts. Today, when new materials or new techniques are constantly evolving, the idea of “on paper” seems to be embarrassingly out of fashion. Nevertheless, no talented artists will let media or materials limit their creativity, on the contrary, with their imagination, they tirelessly reinvent the simplest material and the most conventional techniques, revitalizing them with zeitgeist.
The artists in this exhibition include Ding Xiaozhen, who never stops experimenting with new techniques when following the tradition of Chinese ink painting; Jiang Qigu, a Chinese American artist who navigates freely in between Eastern and Western aesthetics; Zhou Hao, who makes abstract collages works. Swiss artist Alois Lichtsteiner's landscape works are blurring the borders of abstract and figurative art; and Shanghai artist He Saibang created unique works that put literati painting's brushstrokes and conceptual art's ideas in one. Berlin-based Ji Dachun and another Swiss artist in the show, George Steinmann, both incorporated unconventional materials in their drawings: newspaper and blueberry juice, which seem to pay homage to a German artist, Sigmar Polke, who is known for his choice of alternative materials. Dutch artist Klass Gubbels used elegant and simple contours and shapes in his woodblock prints, which successfully reached audiences from different backgrounds. His high-saturated colors are the highlights of the entire show.
Every artist in All on Paper is an independent chapter, yet together they form a piece that reminds me of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, a song that conflates various music elements including pop, rock-n-roll and opera, so seamlessly that one can hardly notice the transitions. Their thin pieces of works on paper become visually enriched and culturally in-depth thanks to the dynamic contexts created by the juxtaposition and dialogues they bring together.
Embracing the legacy of paper, while adopting contemporary art techniques and theories, these 11 artists created a body of work on paper with unlimited freedom and exuberant creativity. Their art makes a manifesto: everything is possible, all on paper.