31 October, 2005

algorithmic mathematical art


miniprint finland

Christina Cordero, Australia

The Miniprint Finland exhibition is an unusually large and notable graphic arts presentation both nationally and internationally. It has established its position among the international miniature graphic special art exhibitions. The Graphic Artist Association of Lahti has been responsible for arrangements from the start of the exhibition in 1992. The Lahti Art Museum has taken part in organizing since 1998.








shakespeare illustrated


WOW Profiles VIII

This series of posts previews the artists participating in the walking on water portfolio (WOW). This post features Nele Zirnite & Laura Ruby

was born in Lithuania in 1959. Studied from 1978 to 1982 at Vilnius Art Institute ( Lithuania) and from 1982 to 1984 at Latvian Academy of Arts ( Riga, Latvia ). Since 1988 is member of Union of Artists of Latvia. Since 1985 - teacher of graphic art. Presently employs etching technique in her works. She participated in various art Exhibitions in Europe and USA and has many awards. Her works was distinct and placed in Album " The Best of Printmaking", Rockport Publishers - Gloucester, USA, where placed works of 250 best graphic Authors from all World..
at junik.lv

at Davidson Galleries

at biddle gallery

review Lithuanian printmaker Zirnite makes velvety dreamscapes containing imagery whose originality is an order of magnitude above the norm. She makes them with a needle, pressing millions of microdots into a metal plate that can take up to two years to complete.


Laura Ruby - Lecturer in Art, University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Courses: History of Contemporary Sculpture, Theory and Criticism of Art, Time and the Arts

See: Stage Set--Mise en Scene, Site of Passage--Chinatown 1, Site of Passage--Chinatown 2, Cromlech
and more.

nancy drew series

My "Nancy Drew Series" of screenprints takes as its primary reference the fictional detective, Nancy Drew, the subject of an extremely popular series of books in American culture. The character Nancy Drew represents the independence and problem-solving intelligence of the detective figure, while also alluding to the independence, creativity and determination of the artist. The first obvious punning relationship is in the name, Drew, but the series of prints employs both playful and serious multiple visual and verbal interactions in its concept and design.

The multiple levels of visual/verbal interplay incorporate references to the tools and processes of art making, including allusions to numerous codes and sign systems. For example, The Clue of the Black Keys contains historical and contemporary musical notational systems (including Chopin's "Black Key Étude") and a typewriter schema; while The Clue of the Tapping Heels contains Morse code and The Secret of the Brass Bound Trunk includes semaphore. Each individual print, of course, includes far more imagery and conceptual material in addition to these notational systems, and as a series the prints have much interplay and interaction of concept and imagery. Other subject matter includes such popular culture elements as comedy films, mystery films, popular music and others.

My "Nancy Drew Series" encourages viewer involvement in the search for clues and understanding. One major theme of the series is the acknowledging of the artist/detective as maker and the viewer as an involved participant in the detection.

FEB 2003

Laura Ruby, a printmaker whose works will be exhibited in the Denison University Art Gallery starting on Friday (Feb. 21), will visit Granville to meet guests at the opening reception and to work with students during her stay.She will open her visit with a lecture about her artwork at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday (Feb. 20) in the Cleveland Annex (Mulberry Circle).

Ruby has created the "Nancy Drew Series," silk-screen prints that parody the concept of the mystery novel. A resident of Hawaii, Ruby's prints are rich with integrated literary allusions, along with cultural and artistic metaphors that are intended to give the viewer clues associated with the title of the piece. Ruby also will be working in the Cleveland Hall print studio during the weekend creating a work which will become part of the Denison Library collection.

"Breaking New Ground: Explorations in Digital Printmaking" showcases a variety of approaches artists are taking in digital printmaking.


Laura Ruby paints a giant gecko that will be displayed with 49 others during Geckos In Paradise, a charity event and art exhibition organized by Kapi'olani Health Foundation, the fund-raising arm of Kapi'olani Medical Center. Ruby's fiberglass lizard is five feet long and weighs 35 pounds.

Surface Tension

Surface Tension:
Twenty One Australian Contemporary Printmakers

The New York Society of Etchers, Inc., in conjunction with Gallery 101, of Melbourne Australia, presented “Contemporary Australian & New Yorker Prints” at the National Arts Club in New York City. Curator Cynthia Reeves of Reeves Contemporary Gallery, Chelsea selected the 34 New York printmakers who are from diverse locations in and around New York State. The prints presented have been selected by juried entry on behalf of the New York Society of Etchers inc. (NYSE).

Australian co - curators of the show are Dianna Gold and Dr. Carmel Wallace. The prints selected offer a wonderful glimpse into printmaking practice Australia-wide, from artists working in major cities such as Melbourne and Sydney, to those in very remote outback localities like the Western Desert. There are six indigenous printmakers represented alongside artists working in major rural / regional and city areas. The resulting body of work is a survey not only of intaglio printmaking in technical terms, but also of the ways in which Australian artists explore notions of identity as they respond to particular environments and cultural influences.

The show has been well received and has had recognition in major international publications including, Asian Art News, The International Print Journal, Poster and Monument Magazine. Imprint Magazine – published in Australia will also feature an article about the combined exhibition in their Summer 2004 Edition, Volume 39, Number 4.

There is a comprehensive catalogue and poster for the Australian component of the exhibition together with a catalogue produced by the NYSE.

The Australian component of the exhibition: Surface Tension Twenty One Contemporary Australian Printmakers will be shown at the Academy Gallery of The University of Tasmania from 11 February – 13 March 2005.

Surface Tension exhibition opening crowd
Academy Gallery, 2005

Australian participating artists are:
G.W. Bott (ACT), Graham Fransella (VIC), Mignonette Jamin (WA), Paddy Sims Japaljarri (NT), Michael Kempson (NSW), Barbie Kjar (TAS), Hertha Kluge-Pott (VIC), Ron McBurnie (QLD), Jennifer Marshall (VIC), Milan Milojevic (TAS), Daniel Moynihan (VIC), Peter Nabarlambarl (NT), Rosie Tasman Napurrula (NT), Graeme Peebles (VIC), Ron Quick (VIC), Vicki Reynolds (VIC), Geoff Ricardo (VIC), Melissa Smith (TAS), Freddie Timms (WA), Carmel Wallace (VIC), Freda Warlipini (NT-Melville Island)


29 October, 2005

WOW Profiles VII

This series of posts previews the artists participating in the walking on water portfolio (WOW). This post features Robin McCloskey and Kathryn Reeves

Low Tide

Robin McCloskey received her MFA in Printmaking from Pennsylvania State University. McCloskey's experimental work won the Gold Prize in Printmaking in the 8th International Print and Drawing Biennial in Taipei, Taiwan in 1997. She recently produced a series of large-scale prints at Trillium Press. This series of nine prints titled Sequoia Sempervirens was presented at the Sonnenschein Gallery in the Chicago Her work was also included in a collaborative portfolio titled Walking on Water, organized by Debra Fisher from SUNY-Brockport. Robin exhibits her work nationally on a regular basis and teaches printmaking throughout the state of California.
at kala


Wedding Night by Robin McCloskey

Wedding Night reminds us that seduction can mark the beginning of a much greater adventure. The tiny newlyweds in the right-hand corner stand in a fragile house, threatened by a turbulent sky and waves lapping at the doorstep. On closer inspection of this dark dreamscape, we notice that the background is full of playing cards—mostly hearts and diamonds (appropriately enough.) These cards imply that romance is part strategy, part chance. "The figures depicted are my grandparents on their wedding day," explains artist Robin McCloskey. "The playing cards, the nocturnal setting and the scarcely visible boat are intended to symbolize the mystery of the journey on which they are about to embark."
House of Memories: A detail from Robin McCloskey's "First Communion" demonstrates the photographer's use of a variety of techniques, including etching and aquatint, in a single piece

"In a somber, sadder-but-wiser vein, Robin McCloskey delivers the goods. In a series that stretches the definition of a photographic work to incorporate various combinations of photo-etching, etching, monotype, hand coloring and collage, McCloskey creates a sense of personal, internal experience nearly swallowed by a harsh and indifferent world."

Lake Forest, Ill.— An exhibition of prints by nationally recognized artist Robin McCloskey will open in the Sonnenschein Gallery at Lake Forest College on Thursday, January 22, 2004 at 7:30 p.m.
The exhibition will feature McCloskey’s Sequoia Sepiverens prints inspired by California’s redwood forests. McCloskey combines hundred-year old print techniques, nineteenth-century photographic processes, and contemporary practices, including computer-manipulated imagery. This allows her to layer the present with the past, and the experimental with the traditional, in terms of content and technique. Many of her Sequoia Sepiverens prints measure 7’ by 3’ and hang like large scrolls, showing the influence of Chinese landscape painting. Art students from the College will curate the exhibit.
public art - whose art?
Kathryn Reeves: West Lafayette, IN

Kathryn J. Reeves is an Professor of Art at Purdue University. She received her B.F.A. in 1974 from Miami University of Ohio, studied drawing at Harvard University in 1975, and received her M.F.A. from Drake University in 1981. She has shown in over 100 international, national, and regional exhibitions, and her work is included in many public collections in the U.S. Her work was selected for inclusion in The Best of Printmaking: An International Collection, Quarry Books, Gloucester, 1997. At universities across the country, she has lectured and conducted workshops in lithography and intaglio printmaking. She has served on the faculties of Drake University and Iowa State University, and has worked at Harvard's Fogg Art Museum. She served on the Board of the Southern Graphics Council and is an elected member of the Society of American Graphic Artists. As well as serving from 1991-1994 as a Board Member, Reeves was the 1996-1998 President of the Mid America Print Council. The MAPC has an international membership and is devoted to research and education concerning fine art original prints. Reeves served on the Board of Directors of the American Print Alliance from 1997-1999.
Slate, chalk, found offset lithographs, and found objects

"A Little French Lesson"
Intaglio and Acrylic

"Mary Bowman’s Copybook: Command You May Your Mind"
Monoprint, silk-screen, collage, ribbon

international digital miniature print

WOW Profiles VI

This series of posts previews the artists participating in the walking on water portfolio (WOW). This post features Juli Haas

water walker

Juli Haas was born in Chelsea in Victoria in 1952 and studied at Caufield Institute of Technology, Gippsland Institute of Advanced Education and Monash University. She is a highly successful Melbourne based print maker and watercolourist who has held numerous exhibitions since she started exhibiting in 1990 including many overseas. She has been awarded the Sir John Sulman Prize, the Silk Cut Award, the Shell Art Prize and many other acquisative awards and commissions both in Australia and overseas.

Her distinctive figurative works are held in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of South Australia, Queensland Art Gallery, Art Gallery of NSW, numerous regional galleries, and private and corporate collections throughout the world.

"Juli Haas employs allegorical imagery to create a fantastic and ambiguous world through which she can provide a commentary on social behaviour, particularly on the role of women in contemporary society. The surreal dream-like imagery, laced with wit, whimsicality and a latent eroticism, creates a popularly accessible visual language, rich in its theatricalism, vibrant colours and dramatic appeal" *Sasha Grishin "Australian Printmaking in the 1990's"


Juli Haas, highly successful Melbourne based watercolourist and print-maker, has exhibited in over 100 countries and has been awarded the Sir John Sulman Prize, the Silk Cut Award, the Shell Art Prize, the Acquisitive Award by the Hawaii State Foundation, and numerous others.

Her highly distinctive & rich imagery is in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of South Australia, Queensland Art Gallery, Art Gallery of NSW, numerous regional galleries, and private and corporate collections throughout the world.

Haas’s artwork can be dark and menacing, but there is also a strong undercurrent of humour and irony. Entire stories seem to be contained within a single image- her famously detailed pictures engaging the viewer within a world in which there is always something new to observe. So much is packed into a single painting or print. Haas is one of those artists for whom the imagination is an endless supply of inspiration.

at flinders lane

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article at the age
"the prints of darkness"
"Haas, 53, left her art degree unfinished in the '70s, did odd jobs, got married, had three children and then returned to study in the '80s where she completed a masters of art at Monash University. She has had several solo exhibitions here and overseas and contributes to exchange folios where up to 40 artists put in prints for collections. The day of the interview she received a box of prints, including one of hers, from the State University of New York, which will exhibit and tour the collection that has as its theme, Walking On Water."


last dance

Making a striking presence are the works of the imaginative artist Juli Haas. Terminus 1991 and Last Dance 1995 are both representative of Haas's rich idiosyncratic depictions that have been skilfully adapted to the artists' book medium. These works have a particular focus on the ironic elements of life and, although often dark and menacing, they possess a great vitality in execution.

artist books in the deakin uni collection

3D printing at UTS Gallery

Keith Brown Shoal 2005

Made Known
18th sept - 18th oct

Rapid prototyping is a 3D printing technique where objects are 'printed' by extruding liquid material, adding one slice on top of another. The material then hardens, resulting in a solid 3D model.

The works in Made Known represent an international cross-section of artists who have embraced the potentials of 3D printing to create sculptural objects. Artists from Australasia, Europe and the US have been invited to send a piece of work via the Internet as a 3D digital file. These files will be printed as rapid prototype objects using the 3D printing facility in the School of Design at UTS.

In addition to 3D prints, animations using the same rapid prototype software will feature in the exhibition by artists including Hye Rim Lee, Marcus Williams and Susan Jowsey.

Curated by Ian Gwilt and Brit Bunkley.

UTS Gallery
Level 4 702 Harris St
Ultimo Sydney NSW 2007

Fiona MacDonald American Raptors (detail) 2002
Fiona MacDonald American Raptors (detail) 2002

Strangely Familiar
Fiona Hall and Fiona MacDonald
1 nov - 2 dec

We comfort ourselves as best we can. We feather our nests and are kissed by consumption. We are flying toward something we do not know and yet someone, somewhere, always knows where we are.

The art of Fiona Hall and Fiona MacDonald will turn the gallery into an environment where we see the aftershadows of the collection and the complicated folds of capitalism. The setting is a haunted domesticity. The walls are draped and wallpapered, shopping bags frighten us and all our money seems able to blow away. But this is not a simple horror. We experience the paradoxical pleasures of seeing money made into an exquisite home and flows of consumption becoming a sail across the sea or a flight on a breeze.


28 October, 2005

the framing workshop

original prints at the framing workshop
mosman, sydney

I dont need a caption to recognise the view

Stanwell Park Hang Gliding
Stanwell Park Hang Gliding

Stanwell Park is located 26 kilometres from Wollongong CBD. Beautiful coastal and cliff views, beaches and picnic areas are Stanwell Tops best features. Bald Hill, Stanwell Park is a world class hang gliding site with paragliding, tandem flights and instructors.The first settler at Stanwell Park was Matthew John Gibbons. Stanwell Park was possibly named after the village of Stanwell on the south side of London. Stanwell Park was also known by the aboriginal name 'Little Bulli. Bulli meant 'two mountains' and referred to those on each side of the

WOW Profiles V

This series of posts previews the artists participating in the walking on water portfolio (WOW). This post features Andy English and Jean Lodge.

Andy English: England

East Anglian wood engraver (member of Society of Wood Engravers, Wood-Engravers Network USA). Work mainly independent limited-edition prints (each one an original artist's print numbered and signed) or illustrations. Also bookplates. Themes: childhood, gardens, the Fens, relationship between people and rural environment. broughton house

Wood Engraver - Studio diary

albion press restoration blog

A very nice presentation of John Keats poem with wood engravings by Andy English. Bugra endpapers. Poliphilus and Blado with Goudy Text for display in violet and black on Zerkall Book White Wove. 7 by 5 inches [178 by 127mm]. 36 pages. Quarter violet cloth and decorated printed paper over boards, with spine label. Frontispiece, two smaller engravings within the text, a tailpiece, and the press device are by Andy English. Edition of 115 copies.


Andy English

"The Hidden Pool" Woodengraving

The Hidden Pool, like almost all of my work, relates to a place that has special significance to me. I pass these trees most days. They make a graceful group. However, if one walks across the field to reach them, there is a small pool of water and the mood changes to a hidden and mysterious spot. I could not find a large endgrain block that I could afford where the wood was proven to come from a sustainable source so, rather than make the print smaller, I engraved on a from Lawrences of London, which I built up to type high with mdf.

Print Australia Print Exchange


Jean Lodge: England

Characteristics of the American printmaker (now based in Paris and Oxford) Jean Lodge’s work are constant innovation, an extraordinary mastery of mixed techniques and a fascination with the human face. She was for 17 years Head of Printmaking at the Ruskin in Oxford, and has spent time in Japan with hand papermakers and printmakers. Now she concentrates on her own work, while giving workshops in the USA, in her Paris studio and on behalf of the gallery at our northern outpost at Castle Farm in Arkengarthdale.
from broughton house

at the printmaker's council

Work as described adjacent

NYC/Paris DIALOGUE Paris/New York Printmaking Project Organized by Maddy Rosenberg, Independent Curator, New York City, and Devorah Boxer, Vice President, Le Trait, Paris. This exhibition brings together the works by 18 American artists and 18 French artists to highlight the role of the artist printmaker and the contrasts between the American and the French approach to the medium. The artwork included will span printmaking from the traditional to the more unconventional, with techniques ranging from intaglio, lithography, and silkscreen to photo and digital processes. American artists include Desiree Alvarez, Kumi Korf, Hillary Lorenz, Florence Neal, Miriam Schaer, among others. French artists include Louis-Rene Berge, Yves Jobert, Helene Laffly, Jean Lodge, Marie-Antoinette Rouilly Le Chavallier, among others.
October 14, 2005 - December 3, 2005

The Center for Book Arts Gallery is located on the third floor at 28 West 27th Street, Manhattan. Our beautiful exhibit cases are always filled with exciting work, and you are welcome to come to see it.

The Brooklyn Arts Council hosts New York/Paris DIALOGUE Paris/New York, simultaneous exhibitions in New York and Paris showcasing prints and print-derived artists' books from eighteen contemporary American artists and eighteen of their French counterparts from Le Trait, a leading printmaking organization in Paris.
more info

nathan henderson

the expo is the 27th of oct
today. 18:00 - 21:00

exhibition invitation & details

Iwhat?I.whats the point, its a studyish kinda thing

Picked up an exhibition invite in the cafe yesterday and thought it looked worth a visit. The gallery is behind the noordekerk in noorderkerkstraat, and it turned out to be a pristine and attractive space.

I always enjoy work that is well drawn and this certainly was. With a very printerly limited palette, the exhibition is titled "white contrast", they were mostly paintings on white canvases. The work read well from an distance but drew the viewer in close to observe the fine detail and tiny drawings. Filled with visual quotations, the work invites a game of 'spot the reference', always fun at any exhibition.

A background in anatomical drawing and street art is apparent. Many of the works contained repeated imagery that may have been stenciled. Many of them are here on the website. http://menglef.org/

more nathan on deviantART

nature printing society

Founded in 1976, the Nature Printing Society is an international organization devoted to nature and to the art of nature printing. It is organized and operated for artistic and educational purposes, to advance and encourage nature printing, and to further the interests of its members by promoting acquaintance and cooperation among them. The Society encourages publication of articles, demonstrations of printing, teaching of classes, and the organization of displays and exhibitions of all forms of nature printing. It has established guidelines for prints based on those followed by Gyotaku-no-kai, the Japanese fish printing organization.

MCA conference

New Constellations: Art, Science and Society
17-19 March 2006
Museum of Contemporary Art
Circular Quay West, Sydney Australia

New Constellations: Art, Science and Society ­ an international conference charting the ways in which art and science are gravitating towards one another within contemporary culture. The Conference will present the latest thinking about collaboration between artists and scientists and examine how the worldwide trend towards interdisciplinary engagement is changing the definitions, methodologies and practices they use and how they view the social
implications of their work.

Key Speakers:
Ruzena Bajcsy, Immediate Past President, CITRIS (Centre for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society), University of California, Berkeley, California

Elizabeth Grosz, Professor of Women¹s and Gender Studies, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and Visiting Professor of Architecture, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey

Steve Kurtz, Founding Member, Critical Art Ensemble; Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Roger Malina, Chairman, Board, Leonardo, the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology; Co-Chair, International Advisory Board, Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts.

New Constellations is presented by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia

The Conference has grown out of a collaboration between artist Mari Velonaki and The University of Sydney¹s Australian Centre for Field Robotics, an Australian Research Council -Australia Council for the Arts Linkage Project. The Conference is supported by Artspace, Australian Network for Art and Technology and Patrick Systems and Technologies and The University of Sydney.

For further program details and information about the call for
papers/presentations go to www.mca.com.au/newconstellations

centre for the history of the book

'Book Wheel',A. Ramelli, La Diverse et Artificiose Machine,

BOOK HISTORY is an area of interdisciplinary enquiry, drawing on the methods of Bibliography, Social History, Literary Criticism, and Cultural Theory. Its specific objects of study include literacy and reading practices, relations among publishers, authors, and readers, and media production technology.

THE CHB was established in 1995 as an international and interdisciplinary centre for advanced research into all aspects of the material culture of the text - its production, circulation, and reception from manuscript to the electronic text.

SERVING a community of over 30 scholars across several university departments, the CHB is today an internationally recognised centre dedicated to the promotion of Bibliography and Book History.


26 October, 2005

Modern Japanese Prints

This print was the first color woodblock print published from a design by Goyo. Commissioned by the publisher Watanabe Shozaburo (1885–1962), the print was produced by a carver and printers employed by Watanabe in a workshop that functioned similarly to those of the Edo period (1615–1868). Following the Edo period custom, Watanabe's circular seal is printed at the lower left, while Goyo, embarking on his first creation in this medium, placed a seal reading "Shisaku," meaning "trial production," below the date and his signature at the upper left.

In this print, Goyo hoped to achieve an image that conveyed the sense of solidity and volume from his drawings by using line and flat color without recourse to shading. The woman, kneeling beside a basin with her clothing folded nearby, wrings out a cloth to wash before entering the soaking tub. Her completely nude figure reflects Goyo's training in Western artistic practices such as drawing from life, which formed the basis of all his figure prints. Ultimately, Goyo was not satisfied with the result of his cooperation with Watanabe. Convinced that the artist should exert more control over the result, he turned to publishing his own prints after this single collaboration.

Yoshida was fascinated by the camel caravans he encountered during his travels in northern India and present-day Pakistan. Here he has used the same set of carved woodblocks to render day and night scenes. For the night scene (see F1996.27), he has eliminated some of the color block printings that represent the distant scenery in the day scene and has cut a block that leaves the paper unprinted at certain points to represent stars.

Torpedo hits a Russian Warship at the Battle of Port Arthur

Kobayashi Kiyochika , (Japanese, Japanese, 1847-1915)

Dream Worlds: Modern Japanese Prints and Paintings from the Robert O. Muller Collection
November 6, 2004–January 2, 2005
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
In the spring of 2003, the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery received a bequest of more than 4,500 woodblock prints, representing 240 artists, from the world-renowned Robert O. Muller Collection of Japanese prints. Muller (1911–2003) was a Connecticut-based collector who over the course of seventy years had assembled one of the world's finest collections of Japanese prints from the late 1860s through the 1940s. This exhibition presented approximately 150 of these prints in a series of thematic categories that had particular resonance with Muller: the rendering of light in various atmospheric conditions; depictions of birds and beasts; theatricality, whether specific to the Japanese stage or in the more general sense of, narrative style; images of female beauty; and, printing technique in the service of effect. The prints were complemented by some paintings also drawn from Muller's holdings.

Muller collected in two distinct yet related areas. The first included the eclectic style of print that emerged in the last quarter of the 19th century—an era of experimentation that produced such diverse talents as Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839–92), who was famed for his flamboyant treatments of legend and historical events, and Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847–1915), whose studies in light and shadow were offered as an aesthetic alternative to the photograph. The second area of the Muller's collection comprises the world's most important grouping of prints created in the shin-hanga (new print) style. Shin-hanga was an entrepreneurial creation of the publisher Watanabe Shozaburo in the first decade of the 20th century. Watanabe managed a coterie of designer/artists who adapted traditional, idealized print subjects—theater, the pleasure quarters, bird and flower and landscape—to modern tastes. Included in the collection are superb representations of female beauty by Ito Shinsui (1898–1972), camp and vamping kabuki actors in male and female roles presented in exceptional designs by Yoshikawa Kanpo (1894–1979) and Natori Shunsen (1886–1960), the romanticized country and city views of Kawase Hasui (1883–1957) and numerous bird studies by Ohara Koson (1877–1945).

View the
Dream Worlds online interactive.

25 October, 2005

illustration blog

A resource for students enrolled in CCA illustration5, where work can be displayed and commented upon by students, teachers and others, as well as images, links and commentary on issues and ideas related to the field of illustration.


ghosts pounding the wall

In Xu Bing’s Ghosts Pounding the Wall, 1992, the artist and a crew of assistants made ink impressions of the Great Wall on rice paper by using a technique traditionally used in the reproduction of fine calligraphy. The impressions form a large scroll, which ends in a tomb-like pile of dirt mourning the historical icon. The work is both monumental and funereal, while conveying intellectual skepticism and ambivalence towards the traditional memory presented in the Great Wall.


Xu Bing

Xu Bing was already a famous artist in China with 'A Book from the Sky'. This is an Art project he worked on for years. Cutting thousands of ineligible characters in wood blocks and printing them in the old Chinese way. This work was exhibited in Beijing in February 1989 and got at first very positive reviews.

Xu Bing and the Great Wall

In May 1989 he was working on a new project. This is named 'Ghosts Pounding the Wall'. He spends twenty-five days in Jinshanling to make a rubbing of a part of the Great Wall. For this project he and his co-workers used 300 bottles of ink and 1300 sheets of rice-paper and tissue-paper. Special outfits were designed beforehand to wear during the work. During the time he worked on the Wall, photographs, videotapes and sound tapes were made. The result of all this enormous effort was 1000 square meters of rubbings.


A rubbing is a typical Chinese technique of making an imprint. A piece of paper is put on a surface and than rubbed with a ink pad. So the hollows are white and the rest is black. In this way you get a negative imprint of the surface.


The local people consider this stretch of the Great Wall more or less part of their home, 'the side wall' as they call it. From that perspective they named the artist and his friends working on the rubbings 'paperhangers'. At first the locals never asked themselves what the use would be, and later on as local people were hired and worked with the artist nobody cared about the usefulness of this wallpapering.

Printing and its possibilities as the main theme for Xu Bing's work

Xu Bing was at that time a teacher of the Beijing Academy of Fine Arts and was specialised in graphic techniques. In an interview he explains his motives saying that he spends a lot of time thinking about the process of printing, considering al possible materials and ways of reproduction, and maybe most important to him the meaning behind al this. He tried all forms of printing. He remembered the many different shaped rocks in his home province that to him was the most impressive form of natures imprint. That vision gave him the idea to make use of the traces left by history and nature on the Great Wall, making it into a giant reproduction of former times.

Action printing and nonsense

To use his own words about this Great Wall project; the action is just as important as the result of the work. You can use almost anything with an uneven surface to make a rubbing. Bringing something as magnificent as the Great Wall from outside to inside gives people a very strong visual and emotional impulse. This is shocking for people and is the stronghold of Art. At the same time through the motion of the physical work, he wants to create an action art manifestation, saying that Art is the process that should solve peoples problems during any transition period. He is looking for a way to go through this transformation by putting in a tremendous physical effort and creating a result that is 'nonsense'.

Beijing New Wave or Chinese Avant Garde

Xu Bing is part of the Beijing New Wave. In Europe and America most people know this generation of Chinese artist under the name China Avant Garde because of the exhibition by that name in the early nineties. As I already told you after the exhibition of 'A Book from the Sky' in March 1989 he was praised for his renewals. Then after three months that is after the June fourth events in Beijing the same work was condemned for being 'nonsense' art or nonsensical art. 'Ghosts pounding the Wall' is another nonsensical work and the scale of this work of Art is overwhelming, just as overwhelming as the original structure the project it was based on; The Great Wall. The rubbings are mounted in the Chinese way and have never been shown in China.

In the West his work is open to all sorts of interpretation. I found someone saying that the word ghosts is a political statement because the word was used during the cultural revolution for counter-revolutionaries, which was a very bad thing to be at that time. The Western art-critic Britta Ericson places 'Ghosts pounding the Wall' in a heavy connection to the student uprising. Xu Bing and his work moving to the West, she says, altered the works meaning in ways Xu could not predict.

I have to put forward some historical facts about this. The first rubbing Xu made of the Wall was already done in 1987, and it is also obvious this had nothing to do with the 1989 events. The 1987 rubbing was by no means as big as this project, but the idea was already formed. I think the concept of the work was at that stage primarily concerned with the extremes of the printing process. In 1990 Xu Bing moved to America and in interviews he tends more and more to stretch the political meaning of his work. He also says that the intention of the Wall to keep strangers out is just as nonsensical as his own project.

Also in 1990 in China the art-critic Yin Jinan criticises 'Ghosts pounding the Wall', saying that because of the scale and the waste of manpower and the nonsensical meaning this is a work of art that can stir violent uprising. By saying this he underlines the political meaning of 'Ghosts pounding the Wall'. I think it is impossible to say if the political meaning was intended beforehand or that the political situation sort of took over after the work was made. The fact remains that in the early nineties both in the West as in China the work carried a political meaning next to its nonsensical meaning.
I even suspect another layer in Yin Jinan's writing. Although he writes critical about 'Ghosts pounding the Wall' he descibes the project beautifully. So if you filter out the critical part you end up with the best discription of it available in China.

And what happened to Xu Bing after making the 'Ghosts pounding the Wall'?

Xu Bing went to America in 1990 and became one of the representatives of the Beijing New Wave. He felt no longer free to work the way he wanted in his own country. The North Dakota Museum of Art installed the 'Ghosts pounding the Wall' in the summer of 1993 on a permanent base. Xu Bing is still working on Art projects which al have to do with the printing process. Sense or nonsense are present in all the works he did since. As far as the Great Wall is concerned it seems to me, it is not only keeping foreigners out but also some of China's own people.


Source: Traditions on the Move
Seminar of the Advanced Master's Programme University of Leiden JUNE 28-29 1999 Research School CNWS

by Lucien van Valen

22 October, 2005

Breitner's photography

De Eilandsgracht gezien naar de achterzijde Prinseneiland 34, 32, 28 enz. (v.r.n.l.). Aan de Eilandsgracht lag het atelier van Breitner.

babelfish translation
The Eilandsgracht seen to the back prince island 34,.32,.28 etc. (v.r.n.l.). to the Eilandsgracht lay the work shop of Breitner. 1906-1907

Among the thousands of photographs in the Amsterdam Municipal Archives (Gemeentearchief Amsterdam) are almost 300 city views taken by the painter-photographer George Hendrik Breitner. For more on his photography go to About Breitner.


This is the area where I live and where Breitner had his studio. I'm still researching the exact location.

Links de Bickersgracht en rechts een scheepstimmerwerf. Vanaf de Galgenbrug keek Breitner naar de Eilandskerk (afgebroken in 1939).
Left the Bickersgracht and Right a scheepstimmerwerf. As from the Galgenbrug Breitner looked at to the island church (demolished in 1939).

Rechts de huizen aan Bickersgracht nr. 44, 46, 48 enz. (v.r.n.l.).
To the right the houses to Bickersgracht no. 44,.46,.48 etc. (v.r.n.l.). 1904-1911