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I made friends with a lot of musicians at the Nanjing Art Institute. I remember, in the summer of 1988, hearing an improvisational piece by zither-player Cheng Gongliang and a Dutch flutist. The flute would play for a bit, and then the zither would respond, tactfully, excitedly, harmoniously. That was the first time I got a feel for the moving tone of the zither; I understood the meeting of souls that could be attained through music. I began the Ancient Stringed Instruments series in 1990 based on the instruments of my musician friends. The zither belonged to Cheng Gongliang, the erhu belonged to Ma Youde, and the flute belonged to Cai Xinmin.

The shape of each musical instrument was borne of a pursuit of beautiful sound. I viewed the work as a unique way of putting music to paper – the music is hidden in the cavities of the instruments, waiting for us to hear it through visual means. The Ancient Stringed Instruments series is extremely simple and clean, and technically speaking, I reached a personal peak: to achieve the gradual fading from pure black to light gray required many repeat printings, removing dryness and dullness, and seeking out change within simplicity. I think that this rich simplicity goes beyond the requirements of shape, light and shadow to embody an aesthetic realm. Only through truly savoring it can I express the elegance of the instrument and the radiant character of the player. There are ten works in this series, and looking back on them now, they’ve stood the test of time.


Ancient Stringed Instrument No.2
by Chen qi
Water Print
20 Editions
50X76cm
1991



Zither
by Chen qi
Water Print
20 Editions
60X160cm
1991



Ancient Stringed Instrument
by Chen qi
Water Print
15 Editions
41X96cm
1990

Ruan
by Chen qi
Water Print
20 Editions
38X95cm
1991

Samisan
by Chen qi
Water Print
20 Editions
71X95cm
1991


Ancient Stringed Instrument No.3
by Chen qi
Water Print
20 Editions
53X95cm
1991

Ancient Stringed Instrument No.1
by Chen qi
Water Print
20 Editions
50X76cm
1991


Pipa
by Chen qi
Water Print
20 Editions
71X95cm
1991