China is the hometown of paper. The invention of paper has made a tremendous contribution to the spread and development for civilization. In addition, paper has also been used as a cultural recorder over its long history, and it is both a resource for writing and a manifestation of Chinese literati to write and draw on rice paper. Along with the development of culture and art, paper has been further expanded to an artistic expressive language and art ontology, and many artists use paper as a medium and way to express their artistic ideas, developed as an unique “paper art”. In order to better promote the research, creation, display and education of paper art, Jilin Normal University took the lead in establishing the Institute of Paper Art in China, Jilin Normal University and held a press conference inviting experts and the media to present in Beijing, on January 8, 2018, to discuss the opportunity, significance and upcoming specific work of the establishment of the Institute of Paper Art in China, Jilin Normal University.

Qian Linxiang, former Vice Chairman of the National Art Museum of China, Deputy Director and Secretary General of the National Art Museum Committee of China, Wu Hongliang, Vice President of the Beijing Fine Arts Academy and Director of the Art Museum of Beijing Fine Arts Academy, Xu Xiangqun, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of People’s Liberation Army Publishing House and Deputy Director of Curatorial Committee of China Artists Association, Wei Li, a collector of books, an expert engaged in the study of ancient papers and Distinguished Researcher from the Imperial Palace, Prof. Zhang Guolong, from Central Academy of Fine Arts, Li Anzi, Chairman of Hong Kong Gallery Association, Yan Feng, Associate Professor of China National Academy of Arts and Secretary General of Experimental Artists Committee of China Artists Association, Li Yangquan, an expert of ancient paper, Zhang Hongbing, Director of the Department of Exhibition of the 81 Art Museum and an artist, artist Wang Lei, Han Huirong from the Beijing Normal University, Liang Chou from Beijing Institute of Technology, Li Dong from the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology, Yang Jinghai, President of Jilin Normal University, Che Guangbo, Vice President of Jilin Normal University, Ma Chunhong, Director of the Department of Personnel, Chen Wenguo, Dean of the School of Fine Arts, and Chen Si from the Institute of Fine Arts attended the conference.

At the conference, Yang Jinghai, President of Jilin Normal University said that the establishment of the Institute of Paper Art in China, Jilin Normal University, aimed at relying on the educational functions of the university to creatively transform and develop Chinese traditional paper art and made paper, which was one of the four great inventions of the Chinese nation with a new artistic vitality in the new era. At the same time, it also determined to establish a national research base and academic center for paper art, to promote the innovation and integration of Chinese paper art development. The Institute is the first research platform dedicated to paper art and culture in China which has filled the gap in the field of paper art in our country. Chinese paper carving artist Li Hongbo is employed as Director of the Institute of Paper Art in China. Zhang Guolong, Wei Li, Wu Hongliang, Yan Feng, Li Yangquan, Wang Lei are employed as experts.

Li Hongbo elaborated on the future planning and development of the Institute of Paper Art in China, which will be based on the contemporary art and promoting the traditional, devoted to building a platform for displaying Chinese paper art, serving as a pioneer in the international promotion of Chinese paper art and building a test ground for the display and teaching of paper art. The specific tasks include: researching the history of Chinese paper art and culture, building a database of the images of paper art and promoting the research and publication of Chinese paper art; promoting the international exhibitions and disseminations of Chinese paper art and showing the world Chinese paper art; made contributions to promote excellent Chinese cultures to the world. The use of paper as a medium to cultivate outstanding practitioners of art education and artists, to offer the community easy means for art education; building a museum of paper art in China, establishing an artist’s workshop with the combination of international residency, creation, and teaching of paper art. At present, part of the work has started and the compilations of “Traditional Chinese Paper Art”, “Contemporary Chinese Paper Art” and “Documents of Chinese Study – Document of Paper” have been started. In July, 2018, an exchange exhibition project will be held with Massey University of New Zealand. In September, it will hold “China Paper Art Exhibition”. From now on, a case study exhibition of outstanding Chinese paper art will be held each year. In 2019, it plans to hold the “Biennale of Paper Art.”

The establishment of the Institute of Paper Art in China and the prospect of the work are well received by the art world. Qian Linxiang, Deputy Director and Secretary General of the National Art Museum Committee of China looks forward to the establishment of the Museum of Paper Art in China and believes that it will promote academic reflections on the classification of art museum collections and the art museums basically carry out the classified management according to the logic of Chinese painting, oil painting, print and sculpture at present. If the materials are classified, it may be more beneficial to the management and storage of the collections. Different categories will inevitably create different topics for artistic research and museum research. Wu Hongliang, Director of the Art Museum of Beijing Fine Arts Academy and a curator, believes that the study on paper art exhibitions both looks at the roots of Chinese culture and contemplates the possibilities of the use of paper art in the creative fields, as well as the new ideas brought to the entire art industry. Prof. Zhang Guolong, from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, believes that the study of paper art has promoted the transformation of paper from material to media, and it is about how to face new media, new technology and new trends under the background of academy education. How to use paper as a medium? This is not only a matter of use, it is also a continuation of a cultural heritage system.

From the resource for artistic creation to the medium language of creation, Chinese paper art is rising in the international art scene. Take the Central Academy of Fine Arts as an example, the artists such as Xu Bing and Lu Shengzhong are devoting themselves to the exploration of paper art and have trained a large number of young artists who are now engaged in creations with paper, including the artist Li Hongbo, who is a strong performer. Now, Li Hongbo is in charge of the Institute of Paper Art in China, integrating the existing resources of the school to build a team of basic teaching and research, focusing on building an unique platform that integrates teaching, research, exhibition, communication and industry, which will surely promote the active development of paper art in China.

Text and photo by Zhang Wenzhi/CAFA ART INFO

Translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO

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