Last Autumn, MA Printmaking graduate Xiaoqiao Li was selected the Clifford Chance Purchase Prize winner during their annual Postgraduate Printmaking 2016 exhibition.
Clifford Chance is one of the world’s pre-eminent law firms with presence across five continents. Through the Clifford Chance Purchase Prize, Xiaoqiao’s work has been acquired for the Clifford Chance art collection besides £2,000 funds for his continued print research. Alongside their growing collection of over 1200 original prints, Clifford Chance organises an active programme in support of young artists and printmakers.
In this occasion the artist and master printmaker Stanley Jones MBE was invited to select the winner; Stanley was President of the Print Makers Council until recently. In his judge’s speech at the exhibition opening reception, Stanley said ‘Artists today are working on many levels, in many creative ways’, and he predicted that in 20 years ‘Printmaking would be an integral part of our civilisation.’ Stanley awarded the Prize to Xiaoqiao Li, who he said was ‘deserving of the Clifford Chance Purchase Prize.’
Here we talked to Xiaoqiao about his experience during the exhibition and his future plans.
Tell us about the exhibition
I was invited by curator Nigel Frank who is the Art director in Frank Hindley Art Consultants to entered the Clifford Chance’ Postgraduate Printmaking Exhibition in London. Each year, Frank Hindley curates a survey exhibition of artists who have completed their postgraduate degree at a London art college and use printmaking techniques in their work. This is the 22nd year they have organised the Postgraduate Printmaking in London for Clifford Chance.
I came across this exhibition during my first year of study at Camberwell because each year the MA Printmaking and MA Book Art organise visiting trips for students to go to Clifford Chance, where there are a number of original print collections. So I knew about the reputation and how important this exhibition is for emerging artists, especially printmakers. I felt really happy and excited when I was shortlisted because it was quite a competition! In total there were 8 artists shortlisted from Camberwell, Wimbledon, Goldsmiths, RCA, CSM, RA and Slade.
During the award ceremony Stanley Jones MBE awarded the Clifford Chance Purchase Prize to me for my print Wandering III. Also the Clifford Chance Art Committee acquired my prints Wandering II and III for their collection and, Wandering I was collected by a member of the Clifford Chance Art Club as well. More amazingly, Stanley Jones kindly offered to act as a reference when applying for a visa to re-enter the UK. It is a real honour to be awarded this prize which will assist my future printmaking works.
How do you describe your work?
My prints, photographs and mixed media works explore my upbringing and identity, as well as the physical, temporal, and psychological aspects of city life. My current practice explores the physical process and methodology of surface, space and memory through the interplay of mediums: drawing, printmaking, photography, moving image and projection. I am particularly interested in creating a ‘visual noise’ in images, as a device to attain certain types of meaning such as: darkness, ambiguity, melancholy in perceptually complicated landscapes.
How studying at Camberwell influenced your art practice?
I think the most important is how it helped me to think about the relationship between art practice, research and our way of thinking. Through the two years I studied in Camberwell I found what was it I want to explore, which is the physical process and methodology of surface, space and memory through the crossing of medias: drawing, printmaking, photography, moving image and projection. In the study process my classmates and tutors helped me a lot, they always gave me really specific suggestions and questions. I think I am really lucky to have met them and studied art together at Camberwell College of Arts.
What are you currently working on?
Now I am teaching in Macau China and I just held a solo exhibition. I also curated an exhibition called Impression: Contemporary International Printmaker Exchange Exhibition. This exhibition is held by The Macao International Printmaking Arts Research Center (MIPARC), where I’m now their main curator. For this exhibition I invited tutors and alumnus from Camberwell College of Arts to participate as well.
This year I will start to collaborate with UAL alumnus Chilam Chan, who graduated from CSM MA Communication Design to study concerns about Art and Design Consultants. Meanwhile; I will also promote and run a studio call IF studio which is focusing on Creativity education.