2023 Chen Qi · Giant River
Asia Art Center (Beijing) is honored to announce that the exhibition “2023 Chen Qi · Giant River” will be held from April 8th to June 4th, 2023. “Chen Qi is an outstanding representative of waterprint woodcut in my country. He is a research-oriented painter who keeps publishing works. His representative works have not only improved the level of waterprint woodcut, but also refreshed the visual image of waterprint woodcut. His artistic creation is a combination of perceptual experience and rational speculation, physical research and spiritual construction, a comprehensive manifestation of pioneering awareness and deep pursuit. In recent years, Chen Qi has formulated and implemented a waterprint woodcut high-level talent training plan from the perspective of discipline construction and development, which has a great impact on the foundation for the revival and sustainability of Chinese waterprint woodcut.”
From National Museum of China’s “The Notation of Time – Exhibition of Chen Qi’s Art” in 2013 to “Pavilion of the P.R of China at the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia” in 2019, and Hubei Museum of Art’s “@Wuhan 2022·A Place without Whence or Whither: Chen Qi” in 2022, he pushes waterprint woodcut to a new level, presenting people with diverse artistic outlook and abundant creativity. In 2023, Chen Qi adopted the new name “Giant River”, in order to start a more free and open-minded way of artistic creation at his 60’s.
Chen Qi’s artistic creation is a perfect unity of perceptual experience and logical speculation. “His perceptual experience makes his waterprint woodcuts more poetic, especially landscape-themed works, and keeps the rationally arranged images fresh and agile. His rational speculation realizes the order and structure of the printmaking, and the release of individuality and the expressional ideas”.  Unlike many artists, Chen Qi activates the complex language and techniques of waterprint woodcut, as well as abstract concepts in the specific creative process. He continuously strengthen and refine the ontology language of waterprint woodcut, forming a unique technical and aesthetic paradigm of contemporary waterprint woodcut. Entering the digital era of globalization, he has generated a deep comprehension and understanding of the integration and practice of traditional printmaking techniques and contemporary technology. “With the development and changes of the printmaking in the digital age, Chen Qi proposed to rethink the ontology of printmaking, re-examine these two basic concepts of imprints and plurals, and try to seek breakthroughs and transcendence on this basis.” The use of technology such as digital and laser engraving has enabled Chen Qi to gradually get rid of the traditional cultural symbols, and enter into abstract, more rational and independent creative artistic conception, thus constructing a new visual cultural sequence. His artistic language gradually jumps out of the framework of waterprint woodcut to more diverse artistic expressions, including ink, installation, digital art, etc. Chen Qi’s artistic expression medium has an existence beyond the physical nature itself.
The main axis of Chen Qi’s artistic creation is thinking about time and the meaning of life, and then extends a rational, subtle, emotional and romantic visual system. In Chen Qi’s artistic creation, the “Water” series has been created for more than 20 years and occupies an significant position. The works “Creatures”, “Conditioned Existence”, “Prajna” and “Perfect Fusion” displayed in this exhibition have greatly shocked the viewers. Different from the landscapes drawn in traditional Chinese paintings, Chen Qi introduced the concept of western images into the picture. These realistic water ripples appear grand and silhouetted. The picture is produced through the deconstruction, juxtaposition, overlapping and interlacing of printing plates. The multiple forms of water, the natural space and situation, and the visual field of light and shadow have realized the superimposition and resonance of multiple time and space. Faint display, the virtual and real constitute a poetic realm of Taoism and nature, as well as truth and illusion. In the multiple overlaps of ink line color blocks, we can experience the Taoism of water, which means water produces all things.
“Wormhole” is a representative symbol in Chen Qi’s artistic creation. Once, Chen Qi was reading ancient books, the wormholes inspired Chen Qi’s infinite imagination of wormholes. Multiple spatial dimensions are connected during the time travel of the bookworm, and through the time tunnel, the meaning of the universe is formed. Therefore, the “The Notation of Time” series came into being. The delicate silk-like lines and the curved and claustrophobic insect eyes of different sizes form a strong contrast of time and space, which inspired Chen Qi’s infinite imagination of bookworms. This exhibition presents Chen Qi’s “The Notation of Time” series of works including “History of Nature”,“Exploring The Original World”, “Excellent Combination”, and “Giant River”. The media used include books, jade, handmade paper, sculpture, etc. In this series of works, the artist transforms the eternal, abstract, and indescribable existence of “time”into something that can be touched, seen, and thought.
Chen Qi’s exploration of the language of ink paintings presents a superb aesthetic style and spiritual realm. In the works “Summer Flower” and “Autumn Leaf”, he pays special attention to creating an overall and grand scene on the screen. At the same time, he uses the brush and ink to play casually, and perfectly integrates the ink texture and waterprint woodcut, presenting a mellow atmosphere. Between the withered and the prosperous, the mind and the world, it shows all kinds of beauty and the cycle of life.
  Qi Fengge, “Chen Qi’s Artistic Creation and Theoretical Thinking”, May 2022.
 Yin Shuangxi, “Observing Things and Gaining Knowledge——Research on Chen Qi’s Waterprint Woodcut”, July 2020.