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find: Visual Arts China

Liang Xiaoshan  

printmaking, painting, P.R. China

Interviewed and translated from Chinese by Wendy van Overmeeren, The Netherlands.

Liang Xiaoshan, 2001. Photo: Wendy van Overmeeren, The Netherlands.
Behind her is one of her etchings.

Liang Xiaoshan makes copperplate etchings using motifs such as fishforms, dust, ink and candlewax to express various visual patterns and atmospheric tones. She graduated from the printing department of the Guangzhou Institute of Art in 1992 and graduated as an Assistant for the College Faculty Class from China's National Institute of Art in Beijing in 1995. Her works have been exhibited in galleries in Guangdong and Beijing and are part of collections of art lovers all over the world.

I had never thought that I would be able to make art. I think art is taking something very beautiful from simple everyday life - like digging into the earth for a piece of gold. I believe that everyone is an artist. In their heart each person can discover the beauty reflected in all creation. Some people see it but do not express it and some people see it and feel a strong urge to express it.

I remember that after I graduated from two art academies I did not know, did not understand what art was. I think that the skills I learned at the two academies alone were not enough to make me an artist, there was something lacking. The big change came after the death of my father.

His death was a great test in my life. At that time I did not feel sad, I just could not believe it. I was living in Beijing and I had to go back to Guangdong to see him. After a journey of about two days I finally arrived, but when I looked at my father's face it did not look like my father's.
Only when I touched his hands I had the feeling it really was my father. I waited for the cremation to be finished and saw my father's bones being ground into ashes and put into a box. At that moment I felt very angry: how can a man turn into something put into a little box, there has to be more!

Seven months later I was still thinking about the death of my father, it all felt like a dream. I started to think about the meaning of life. In this period of time I would carve etchings, just to let my heart have some peace. Then in preparing for my first exhibition, I discovered that my father was still alive in my heart. Using my art I was now able to express my feelings - the love, education and many others things he had given to me I had shaped into my works.

In the past I had the same feelings about him but was not able to express it properly. It was as if suddenly a door was opened and everything became clear. I understood that art comes from a place supreme and unknown, a place you cannot understand. It is as if something is helping me and I just need to receive it and transform it into form.

Etching by Liang Xiaoshan, 1995.

Self Portrait, acrylic on canvas, by Liang Xiaoshan.

Etching by Liang Xiaoshan.

Etching by Liang Xiaoshan.

  • Etchings and Painting: Just Let the Wind... 2005
  • Artist Profile: Arts Dialogue, June 2001

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