McNally School
of Fine Arts

Yvonne Yi Wen Wang

Yvonne Yi Wen Wang

MA Asian Art Histories
2021 — 2023

Yvonne comes from a family of art collectors. Her long-standing interest in visual art led her to pursue an MA in Asian Art Histories at LASALLE College of the Arts. She is interested in how culturally and historically embedded media become contemporary and global. Her research focuses on the employment of woodblock printing in contemporary Chinese art as a conceptual device and critical tool.

Yvonne previously worked in media and communications. She has extensive global experience as a communications advisor across various industries including the arts & culture sectors. She also moonlighted as an art writer and editor. Yvonne holds an MSc in Politics and Communication from the London School of Economics, as well as a BA with a dual major in Philosophy & Political Science and East Asian Studies from Boston University.

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Thesis abstract

Printmaking as a conceptual device in contemporary Chinese art: A study of Xu Bing, Fang Lijun and Sun Xun

This thesis investigates the role of printmaking in contemporary Chinese art. It examines the use of printmaking as a conceptual device and critical tool through close readings of the works of three contemporary artists – Xu Bing, Fang Lijun and Sun Xun. Each represents a generation of artists who graduated from the printmaking department of China’s leading art academies in the post-Mao era.

This thesis intends to situate the artists and their works not only within the art-historical discourse of Chinese printmaking and contemporary Chinese art but also within the broader context of China’s sociopolitical, culture, and economic transformation. It examines the diverse ways in which these artists have engaged with and transformed the vibrant tradition of printmaking in their multimedia practices. It also explores their employment of the tangible medium of woodblock to alert audiences to complex ideas and provoke them into thinking more deeply about their lived realities.

By underscoring the innovative ways in which they have reimagined printmaking, this thesis aims to demonstrate how the medium has been provocatively questioned, subverted and extended. Despite printmaking’s pivotal role in shaping Chinese culture, its recognition as a vital medium in contemporary Chinese art has been largely overlooked in mainstream Euro-American presentation and discourses. This thesis hopes to fill this void and reposition printmaking as a vibrant and evolving artistic vocabulary of contemporary art in China.