Born 1954 in China
The Chinese Army killed several hundred people during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing. The artist, then the assistant chair of printmaking at Juany Zhau Academy, was sent to a reeducation camp for his participation in these protests. Oppression in China had not eased significantly by 1991 when the printmaker came to campus for a residency. Wu Wubing specialized in mezzotint, a labor intensive and high physical process where tonality is achieved by rocking a tool with fine teeth to create pits of various densities on the surface of a metal plate. While at UNO he editioned a portfolio of seven mezzotints including one titled "In a Remote Place" that came with the following poem written by Wubing and translated into English by George O'Connell.
If it is eternity, why does it hide an uneasy shiver?
If it is a tremble, why does it brim with a detached tranquility?
If it is quietness, why it keeps echoing a low sob?
If it is weeping, why is it as melodious as a pure poem?
That, is the reason for eternity?
That, is the dream of the oriental
I am only aware---
Here exists no dust and hubbub
But a trace of sorrow left behind in the midst of harmony
Memory of the East
1991; mezzotint on Arches; image: 14 x 15 (35.56 x 38.1), sheet: 19 1/4 x 19 3/4 (48.895 x 50.165); edition of 20