About the artworkCao Ou’s ‘Theatre’ Landscape series won Second Prize of ‘The Fourth Muban Educational Trust Woodblock Printmaking Award’ 2020. In the ‘Theatre ‘ Landscape series, the landscapes come from his imagination. His abstract interpretations are different from the classical Chinese landscape paintings; the visuals of landscapes in these works have a vital distinction from work created in the old days. This imaginative series, revealed to us by Cao, was created by using difference image coding, media, and methods. Landscapes in Cao’s prints no longer represent nature in our reality; instead, viewers will discover significant changes to our environment from importing western culture, technology’s revolution, new techniques, pioneer philosophy, and the fast developments of the cities in China. He used the traditional printing technique, called ‘Do Ban’ which dates back to the 17th century. His prints used more than ten pear wood blocks and were hand-printed on Pi Paper (a type of bark paper) with water-based ink. This series continues and expands on the style of ‘flat design’ from his previous series, titled ‘Construction Landscape’.
Cao Ou was born in Shandong, China, in 1987. He developed his practice while attending the Printmaking Department of the China Academy of Fine Arts in 2007, and was awarded a BA degree in 2011. Following in from this Cao studies his MA degree in Printmaking graduating in 2015. Caoa now lives and works in Hangzhou. Inspired by artists Xu Bing and Chen Qi, Cao Ou has developed his skills in the techniques of woodcut printing. His artistic themes are inspired by landscapes and the repeating patterns of buildings. He was shortlisted for the First Muban Educational Trust Woodblock Printmaking Award in 2014.His work is currently held in the British Museumâ€™s permanent collection.