Qiu Deshu (b. 1948)

Born in Shanghai in 1948, Qiu Deshu loved to paint since he was young and received traditional Chinese painting education. He was invited to be resident artist at Tufts University between 1985-1986. He started to try experimental ink painting in the late 1970s. He co-founded the Grass Painting Society (cao cao hua she) with other painters, who advocated spiritual independence, unique technique, and original styles in painting. The effect of western modern concepts is visible in his works during this time, however all his materials are from traditional Chinese resources. Qiu became one of the earliest professional artists in China in middle 80s, now he lives and works in Shanghai, China.
In 1982, Qiu received inspiration from a crack on an old slate by chance, which is when he started to create works for his Fissuring series. He has continued to study the techniques and deepened its themes in the past two decades.
Fissuring art is a way of painting in which structure and integration occur simultaneously by using tearing, rubbing, and carving techniques on Xuan paper, showing the material’s wonderful features. This also creates a natural, free changing painting line – the fissures. Qiu changes the order of colouring; the colours are are all prepared in advance, and continue to tear and carve on top of the first layer. The flying lines and surprising lighting all express the coexistence between close-range tension and deep space.
This fissure art breaks the tradition that “Ink is the essence of Chinese paintings”, which changes the passiveness and subsidiary status of Xuan paper, and makes a new way of expressing art by showing its characteristics of whiteness, exquisiteness, pliability, semitransparent and water permeability. Qiu surpasses the traditional technique and image structure that traditional Chinese paintings follow. By using brush and ink to paint on paper, he shows the modern era in a totally new light by integrating Xuan paper and canvas, ink and oil, painting and carving.
Qiu’s works have been widely exhibited in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, as well as many western countries. They’re collected by National Art Museum of China; Sullivan Showroom of Oxford University, UK; Taichong Provincial Art Museum, Taiwan; The University of Arizona Museum of Art, USA; Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, USA; Asian Art Museum, South Korea; Rathaus of Hamburg, Germany; Aurora Plaza, Shanghai, China; Goedhuis Contemporary, New York, USA; Origo Family Foundation, Geneva, Switzerland; Nusa Art Centre, Australia, as well as many other private collections.