The current exhibition Chinese Characters1 Poster in the Czech Republic presents a collection of about 100 posters from 80 designers from three different Chinese regions –
Peking, Macao and Taiwan. The purpose of this exhibition is to present and share the Chinese culture through Chinese characters. The collection of exhibited author posters emphasizing local Chinese designers, whose artworks will be confronted with those of Czech graphic designers, is a result of the collaboration of Chinese curator and graphic designer Li Xu and Czech curator Lenka Sýkorová with the team of The Ladislav Sutnar
Gallery in Pilsen. The exhibition includes presentations of artists at the Ladislav Sutnar Faculty of Design and Art of the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen and at the Faculty of Art and Design of Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem.
This is the first Chinese poster exhibition in the Czech Republic on such a large scale. Artists clearly express themselves through posters with a written and visual message. It is the work with Chinese characters that is the most important in this exhibition because it shows the difference between typographic traditions in Western Europe and in the Far East, specifically in China. Chinese characters emphasize a silent visual language that quietly expresses its idea. The combined physical and mental power of calligraphy is the main message of the exhibition.
The exhibition presents three local regions. The first region is represented by a collection of posters of designers from Beijing and other cities. It includes 20 posters of Li Xu, Li Hhongy Ang, Chennan, Eric Chan, Zhoufeng, Gary Tong, Jiangjie and others. The specifics of Chinese graphic design stem from a long calligraphic tradition that creates an environment for a humble approach to artwork with respect to previous generations of artists. The contemporary artists thus express Chinese philosophy through a communication medium – an author poster. Calligraphy provides for a unique way of improvisation in writing. It is the most abstract and noble art in Chinese culture. It combines
art and Chinese philosophy. The Chinese ink technique creates an artwork based on an idea by clearly articulating the artist's artistic signature. The painting or drawing reflects the artist's nature. What is important here is the mental exercise – the mind and body coordination – in order to convey the content in the best possible form, which is not common in the European visual art culture.
Macao is the second presented region that is represented by 16 designers - Ck Chiwai Cheang, Bob Lei, Hong Ka Lok and others. Posters from Macao are exhibited in the Czech Republic for the first time and thus provide a picture of Macao's graphic design that shows a high international level. The third part of the exhibition presents posters of Taiwanese designers – Horng-Jer Lin, Ling-Hung, Sophia Shih, Ming-Lung Yu, Wei-Che Sun, Fang-Pang Chang, Sameta Tseng and others – who show the beauty of Chinese characters.
Their artwork transforms words into visual symbols that combine form, color and meaning with respect to ancient tradition. While looking back into the past, contemporary Chinese graphic designers open themselves up to International cooperation and thus reform Chinese characters and interpret their conceptual beauty in a new light. At the exhibition they use Chinese characters as a basic concept for their posters. Chinese characters are
living graphics that tell everyday-life stories. Chinese characters visually communicate and thus build bridges between people.
Photo by Said Ismail
Li Xu and Lenka Sýkorová