Main Participants: Professor Jiang Jiehong (Birmingham City University), Professor Oliver Moore (University of Groningen), Professor Sui Jianguo (China Central Academy of Fine Arts), Nan Nan (New Century Art Foundation), Dr Yi Bao (Shanxi University), Hiu Man Chan (Birmingham City University)
29 May, 2017 – Taiyuan (woodblock print, paper cutting, glazing)
The planning of the Shanxi trip was indebted to several people, Anita Xiaoming Wang who was a visiting scholar at the CCVA during that time, an expert on Chinese folk art history, provided us some useful tips for places and people to visit. Most of all, we were lucky to have Dr Yi Bao from Shanxi University, who has been working on folk art heritage in the area many years and is very well connected with the folk art scene. With him as the main guide of this field trip, we managed to visit many artists, artisans, factories and heritage sites.
In Taiyuan, the provincial capital os Shanxin, we first paid a visit to Duan Gaifang’s home, where she invited several other local folk artist fellows to join us. The group included Fan Suping (knitting artist), Zhang Haiping (flour sculpture folk artist) and Wu Baisuo, who is a collector of ancient woodblock for printing. Mr Wu goes around the country to do demonstration of woodblock printing and we were lucky to be given a few prints from his blocks dated back to the Ming dynasty.
We later visited Shanxi Craft Art Museum, Ge Yuansheng’s glazing factory and studio, as well as Shanxi Provincial Sculptural Academy, the studio of clay sculpture artist Ouyang Ningming.
30 May, 2017 – Pingyao and Jinzhong
In our short stay in Pingyao ancient town, we visited Xue Shengjin’s studio, where him and his son worked on different types of art practice combining traditional craft, folk story telling and modern techniques. We were also introduced to We Tao, who is a self-taught paper cutting artist and has been working hard to preserve this folk art skill for the next generation. In the evening, we visited 1919 Grand Workshop in Yuci, where sculpture artist Ouyang Ningming is carrying on a major project to transform an old abandoned factory to a art and cultural district where workshops for making will take place.
31 May, 2017 – Jingle
In Jingle, we visited another paper cutting artist Lv Hui. Her style is different from Wen Tao, who we visited the day before. The style of cutting is like language, it tells a story and creates a representation of a figure differently. Depending how the artists were taught and the areas that they grow up, there is no exact calculation of style in the country yet. However, we were certain that the style of paper cutting is very personal, like any form of artistic language, it also enables a great space for improvisation, although being an ancient folk story telling method from the older generation to the younger.
As a bonus, we stopped by one of the remaining four temple dated back to the Tang Dynasty – Nanchan Temple. Unlike the urban areas that we were traveling across, the temple and its surrounding provided a unique sense of peace and cultural confidence that perhaps it is something that is lacking in our current time.
1 -2 June, 2017 – Wutai Mountain & Yinxian Pagoda
At the end of the trip in Shanxi Province, we conducted a workshop to conclude the finding of the fieldwork. Datong University was very kind to host the workshop and invited its students and staffs to attend. For the report of the workshop at Datong University, please click here.
You can browse all the documentary and anthropological photos from our flicker album below.