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Ru Yang

Ru Yang

Department of Cultural and Religious Studies

PhD Candidate

The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Ru Yang is a PhD Candidate in Cultural Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. She mainly focuses on literature and image, art and society in China. Her PhD research is Modern Woodcut: As a medium of Modernity in 1930-40s China. Her published articles include: “The Research of Word-Image Relationship between Ten Odes Poems and Ten Odes-Themed Picture in Song Dynasty” (2015), “The Research of the Sculptural Pair at the Square of National Agriculture Exhibition Center from the Perspective of Public Art” (2016).

Woodcut: As a Medium of Modernity in 1930-40s China

This research focuses on woodcut which origins in ancient China but is revived by Lu Xun (1881-1936) as a new popular art form for enlightening common people. Ru Yang sets woodcut in the process of China modernity, mainly analyzing the relationship between woodcut and the enlightenment movement. She is not meant to repeat the history of modern woodcut movement but to reexamine woodcut from a broader perspective of cultural studies. RU Yang regards woodcut as a medium of propaganda and as a thing of aesthetics, seeing how it was influenced by German Expressionism and Russian woodcuts, and how left-wing scholars utilized woodcut to inspire the popular. Modern woodcut movement was inspired by European expressionists such as Frans Masoreel, Carl Meffert, Kaethe Kollwitz and Russian artists such as Favorsky, Kupreyanov, Grigorikova, Kastev and Krinsky. On the one hand, she will analyze how woodcut creators learned from the western and transformed Chinese folk art. On the other hand, she will especially research how the illiterate public responded to new woodcuts by case study and textual analysis. There are two parts of woodcut creations in her discussion, that is, modern woodcut movement in Shanghai in 1930s and woodcut bloom in Yan’an period in the 1940s. The contents and forms of modern woodcuts are also within her research and indispensable part of viewing woodcut as a medium. Ru Yang also cites other scholars in her research, such as Ellen Johnston, Michael Sullivan, Julia F. Andrews, Kuiyi Shen, Shirley Hsiao-ling Sun, Xiaobing Tang, etc.