My Grass Cloth Digital Pictorial Photography
By Fu Wenjun
The Grass Cloth is a kind of linen made from ramie, used for summer clothes, pleasantly cool, which is used in China as a traditional garment fabric for more than two thousand years. In 2008 Rongchang Grass Cloth was included on the Chinese “National Intangible Cultural Heritage List”. In recent years, I have been exploring to apply the intangible cultural heritage Grass Cloth as a photographic medium, with the use of this photography art to express my personal views and ideas and to evoke viewers’ much more and deeper reflection. Therefore, I put forward an innovative photographic expression way and visual language---Grass Cloth Digital Pictorial Photography.
In terms of the nature of the object, the Grass Cloth is marvelous with outstanding texture. Even without being dyed, it has already been a piece of artwork. Grass Cloth is different from the products manufactured by machines and can not be compared by other material. It is a textile having its temperature, with every vertically and horizontally crossed thread showing its unique personality.
When photography and Grass Cloth encounter, the later one is not just an accessory. Grass Cloth declines the brightness, giving dignity to of the image. Its rough texture gives a unique and exquisite feeling, different from the smooth photo paper.
Currently, Grass Cloth is still produced by ancient process, carefully created by the weavers, so each piece can not own the same texture with another. This contributes to guarantee every work of Grass Cloth Digital Pictorial Photography is unique, solving the numerous edition problem disputed over the photography art.
The intangible culture comes into being in a specific time and space, which nowadays is the key obstacle for its “modern transformation”. In the present, the old usefulness of the grass cloth just doesn’t exist, so it should create its new value. From this perspective, photography possibly helps the revival of the Grass Cloth. Using the Grass Cloth, a material characterized by cultural qualities and Eastern aesthetic texture, as the physical support of photography, represents my attempt of modern transformation of this intangible cultural heritage.
Starting from the regional culture, the beginning point, the Grass Cloth can go into the world and develop at other regions, which will be also glorious. Having done research and experiment for several years, I finally solved many technical problems to combine photography and Grass Cloth. Then my Grass Cloth Digital Pictorial Photography were presented in many exhibitions and museums, including Las Vegas Art Museum, 19th International Heritage Show in Paris, Miami International Art Fair, Art Palm Beach International Art Fair, Miami Art and Design Show. When exhibited, the works attracted people’s attention and arouse many interest. Some works were collected by Kennedy family and World Council of Peoples for the United Nations.
I wish the intangible cultural heritage of Grass Cloth can go across the territorial boundary and gain its new possibility of growing based on its tradition. Meanwhile I also hope the union of Grass Cloth, a photography physical support medium presenting Eastern culture features, with the photography can create a new photography art language, or establish a new relation between the image and the media, serving as an engine power to drive the development of contemporary photography art.