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.
which the Westerner can identify with. It seems Chinese contemporary art has to find its place in the Western textbook. Li Xianting mentioned the Chinese Way in his speech, but he did not give this word an exact definition, we hope this Way is not the way of Communist thinking!8 This article makes clear that the success of “Mao Goes Pop” was built on a residual cold war ideological antagonism between East and West still prevalent in the international news media and art world at the time. The
market economy had forced artists to ponder the meaning of individual life in a society based on material desires. Third, there had been significant changes in art media and the emergence of multiple styles of expression.41 Gu Chengfeng called for idealism once again. He saw the faded remnants of 1980s humanism during the 1990s, particularly in the form of Pop and Gaudy Art.42 But he also argued that a healthy and well-constructed cultural mechanism was still needed, even in relation to the
present context would be predicated on a conception of pictorial “style” not simply as a formal property of the painting-as-material-object, but rather in its communicative function as a mode of “visual address,” what Bakhtin termed its “addressivity, the quality of turning to someone.” Through the performativity of its modes of visual address, painting “interpellates” (“brings into being” or “gives identity to”) its beholder as viewing subject, and in this way it is constitutive of spectatorial
postmodernist gesture of provisionally accepting the divide in order subsequently to transgress it, a gesture that perpetuates the divide even as it continually displaces it. We need to turn our eyes to an earlier work of the artist to find actualized the condition of a graphic regime that is truly indifferent to an ontological schism between textual meaning and texture of being. A landmark of Chinese experimental art that remains the artist’s most intriguing achievement to date, A Book from the
works. However, while treating farmers’ migration or “runaway” (chuzou)12 from their homeland, many filmmakers neither posted their criticisms nor extended their praise to the migration movement of Chinese farm workers in the early stage of the reform era. Many filmmakers were uncertain in light of this unprecedented economic reform as to how to politically define farmers’ running away from their homeland and the agricultural Encircling the City 177 geography on screen. The following films,