Chen Haiyan

Chen Haiyan
b. 1955, Fushun, Liaoning
Chen Haiyan is a female printmaker best known for her dream series of wood-block prints begun as a private art project in the early to mid 1980s. She is professor of printmaking at the China Academy of Art (Zhongguo meishu xueyuan; see art academies).
Chen Haiyan entered the Zhejiang Academy of Art (now China Academy of Art) in 1980. She studied printmaking and specialized in etching, which she continues to practise. After graduation in 1984 she was retained as a teacher. Chen Haiyan was one of the earliest contemporary Chinese artists to pursue an interest in dreams and the unconscious mind.
Since 1980 she has kept a diary of dreams. Her first dream works were small, boldly carved wood blocks incorporating image and text that used the traditional ‘penetrating ink’ (touyin) method of printing. Whilst Chen Haiyan’s dream works are stylistically unique they resonate in an interesting, questioning manner with China’s long tradition of wood-block printing, which includes Buddhist sutras, book illustration, New Year prints and twentieth-century revolutionary prints. She also acknowledges the inspiration of German expressionist art, Western philosophy and Chinese mystical and philosophical traditions. Since 1999 Chen Haiyan has also experimented with brush and ink painting and large five-ply sheets, which she has carved and painted with her dream narratives. Chen Haiyan’s works have been collected by Chinese and international art museums and galleries. She continues to be one of China’s most inspiring artists.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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