Contemporary Chinese Art and Film: Theory Applied and Resisted
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The present volume focuses on the uses of theory originating in non-Chinese places in the creation, curating, and criticism of contemporary Chinese visual culture. In the past two decades, contemporary Chinese art and film have attracted a great deal of media and academic attention in the West, and scholars have adopted a variety of approaches in Chinese film and visual studies. The present volume focuses on the uses and status of theory originating in non-Chinese places in the creation, curating, narration, and criticism of contemporary Chinese visual culture (broadly defined to include traditional media in the visual arts as well as cinema, installation, video, etc.). Contributors reflect on the written and, even more interestingly, the unwritten assumptions on the part of artists, critics, historians, and curators in applying or resisting Western theories. The essays in the present volume demonstrate clearly that Western theory can be useful in explicating Chinese text, as long as it is applied judiciously; the essays, taken as a whole, also suggest that cultural exchange is never a matter of one-way street. Historically, ideas from traditional Chinese aesthetics have also traveled to the West, and it is a challenge to examine what travels and what does not, as well as what makes such travel possible or impossible. The present volume thus provides us an opportunity to rethink travels of theories and texts across cultures, languages, disciplines, and media. "The authors in this volume demonstrate how theory can be deployed judiciously, and so illuminate the methodological challenges faced by scholars in a rapidly evolving field. Intellectually rigorous and yet accessible, the book is a much-needed and valuable contribution to art historical scholarship." ―Dr. Wenny Teo, Manuela and Iwan Wirth Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Asian Art, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London. "This collection of essays offers multifaceted approaches and perspectives that demonstrate forcefully how Western theories have appropriated Chinese visual texts into the discourse of English scholarship. This is a must-read book for anyone intending to read or write about contemporary Chinese art and cinema. ―Shu-chin Tsui, Bowdoin College, author of Women Through the Lens: Gender and Nation in a Century of Chinese Cinema . "The theories, ranging from Bakhtin's reading to Chinese Daoist/Chan Buddhist notions, and engaging with postmodern perspectives and globalization, are boldly used to prompt readers to reinterpret contemporary Chinese art and film." ― Haili Kong, Swarthmore College, coeditor of One Hundred Years of Chinese Cinema.
aesthetic. Consider here also, by way of contrast, links made by members of Xiamen Dada and the Hangzhoubased group Chi She between their activities as artists in southeast China and China’s southern school of Chan Buddhism. With the dispersal of many of the members of these groups through national and international travel as well as migration to more commercially/ culturally attractive locations within China such as Shanghai and Beijing since the early 1990s, it is possible to see a mixing of
and encourage the development of Chinese culture. Following huge successes in the economic sphere after the formal launch of the market economy, China began to consider full-scale collaboration between market and culture. In 1998, the Ministry of Culture established a new public body, the Culture Industry Bureau, which was made responsible for investigating, researching, organizing, planning, and making policies for the cultural market. In October 2000, a state proposal was passed by the Fifth
responsibilities and to respond to the demands of the market directly. This tendency is seen at every level of government, prompting the continuing transformation of the cultural administrative system from a centralized and fixed system to a multiform and flexible one. Zhang Xinjian, the director of the Culture Industry Bureau at the Ministry of Culture, is reported to have stated: The healthy development of the culture industry will benefit from scientific and systematic governmental
Chinese art in recent years.57 Figure 1. The billboard on the road to Song Village titled “Welcome to [Song Village] Chinese Contemporary Artist Community” (source: photo by Yu Jiantao, an artist resident in the Song Zhuang Artist Village) 60 Contemporary Chinese Art and Film The local government billboard conveys an important message concerning the current official perception of contemporary art and artists in China. A few years ago, vagrant artists who did not have an affiliation to any
vision signified obliquely by the term “In Herself/ For Herself,” which made up the subtitle of “Lord of the Rim.” If the redrawing of the New Asian art diagram as part of the staging of the “River” exhibition drew on the potential function of the contemporary art exhibition as an educational platform, the planning of “Lord of the Rim” also served to re-draw the disciplinary diagram of the factory apparatus in Hsinchuang. Following the theme of “In Herself/For Herself,” four of the female artists