In December 1979, Deng Xiaoping (1904–1997) announced a new era of modernization and economic reform. Artists explored new techniques, styles, and themes as China reopened itself to the global community in the 1980s and 1990s. The arts entered a renewed period of pluralistic development.
The prints in this section of the exhibition are refreshingly apolitical in terms of subject and style. Trained mostly in Hangzhou and Beijing, these artists adapted both traditional and Western techniques to their own personal approaches to achieve radically different graphic effects. Some convey their nostalgia for a rural lifestyle and ancient culture, while others depict a modern industrialized society with a vague sense of unease, or even crisis, highlighting the confrontation between nature and rapidly advancing technology.