Thursday, 7 March 2013


This month Gloucestershire is hosting an international printmaking festival across no less than 26 venues. I have just been along to the Parabola Arts Centre, where "Impress '13" exhibits work under the title of "The Silk Road".

The show is dominated by the work of a Chinese artist from Yunnan province, He Kun who was there this evening. His huge, colourful "reduction" prints (immensely detailed) are made by cutting into a wooden block. Ink is then rolled across the surface: those areas not cut away retain the ink and mark the paper when run through the press. More of the surface is cut away as another layer is added - and so on, using the same block: a total of 20 different colours were used in the work on display! Every sheet of paper in the edition has to be printed stage-by-stage.

He Kun's work highlights the way the industrial, urban way of life is encroaching upon rural and culturally traditional China: his motivation is the protection of the government-designated "new rural areas" from careless development.

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