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International Symposium

(In)Direct Speech. ‘Chineseness’ in Contemporary Art Discourse and Practice. Art Market, Curatorial Practices and Creative Processes

and Launch of the

International Research Network for Modern and Contemporary Chinese Art

 

March 16 - 19, 2015

 

Artistic Studies Research Centre / Faculty of Fine Arts – University of Lisbon

 

Organizers: Franziska Koch (Global Art History, Heidelberg University) and Rui Oliveira Lopes (CIEBA/FBAUL)

Informed by post-colonial and post-1989 perspectives as well as critical area studies and post-modern cultural theories of art and visual culture, scholars no longer look at Chinese art as a visual expression of “Chineseness”, conceived as a long-standing, homogeneous geographic and cultural entity. Instead, they consider the ways in which cultural identity is constructed and the role of particular actors, who continuously claim, contest and propagate its boundaries. Such an analytical stance has emerged as a response to recent positions on Chinese culture that are either charged with (neo-) nationalist assumptions fuelled by the PRC’s role as a rising global power or a result of long-standing Western strategies to essentialise the Chinese “other”. In the name of a “global art history” that is conscious of its epistemological limits, these scholars suggest a critical engagement with modernist, often Eurocentric assumptions that narrowly interpret works of (contemporary) art in terms of “place”, and call for a more nuanced methodological framework that questions the taxonomies and values that have been built into the discipline since its historical beginnings and have been taken as universal. Such a transcultural perspective seems particularly relevant given the increased migration and mobility of Chinese artists since Deng Xiaoping’s Open Door policy and the growing interconnectedness of the art worlds (in-)formed by economic and technological globalization. In particular, such an approach takes into account the continuity of a long-term historical, cross-cultural dialogue, which is often overlooked when speaking about “Chineseness”, but lies at the core of many processes of cultural and artistic naming. This includes, for example, the examination of non-Chinese artists, who have actively responded to what they perceived as specifically “Chinese”, thereby supporting the notion in turn, while themselves working within (very) different institutional, economic, and political power relations than their Chinese colleagues.

The international symposium (In)Direct Speech. ‘Chineseness’ in Contemporary Art Discourse and Practice. Art Market, Curatorial Practices and Creative Processes seeks to critically address constructions of “Chineseness” that are apparent in three often entangled spaces of the art world across the globe: in the art market’s institutions, in exhibition halls, and in the artist’s studio. Art historians, curators, and artists are invited to discuss the “voice(s)” of “Chinese” contemporary art in a global context and examine what kind of “China-images” they project. The participants will engage with cases of “indirect speech”, in which Chinese as well as non-Chinese artists, cite “China” as a motif or address it by explicitly using (pre-modern) techniques associated with Chinese culture, such as ink and rice paper or Chinese characters. They will also address cases of “direct speech” by artists, curators and art dealers, who proclaim cultural and artistic uniqueness, critical attitudes towards the “Westernization” of aesthetic standards, or – on the contrary ‒ try to forge a place for their works in the global art discourse by avoiding cultural distinctions. The symposium thus aims to make visible the historicity of “Chineseness” as discursive and practical construct and to analyse how agents and institutions contribute to its changes during the last three decades.

The symposium includes the launch of the “International Research Network for Modern and Contemporary Chinese Art”, which will create a suitable academic social media platform that ensures easy accessibility, global outreach and a secured space for the sharing of professional information as well as in-group discussions. In particular the network will address the career needs of junior scholars with non-permanent institutional affiliations and a lack of funding to support their often expensive research travels, enabling them to quickly and internationally gather helpful information together with the support of senior researchers. It is planned to be institutionally affiliated to a university – probably Heidelberg University – to ensure a sustainable, non-commercial and democratic administration by chosen representatives of its scholarly members.

Read more about the symposium’s focus in the CfP, about the programme, and visit the symposium’s website.



Symposium Proceedings


The papers presented during the symposium will be reviewed and submitted as special issue of the The Journal for Contemporary Chinese Art (Intellect Publishers).



Speakers

Eva Aggeklint (Stockholm University), Jane Chin Davidson (California State University, San Bernardino), Nicola Foster (The Open University & University of the Arts London), Paul Gladston (University of Nottingham), José de Guimarães (Artist, Portugal), JIANG Jiehong (School of Art, Birmingham City University), Beccy Kennedy (Manchester Metropolitan University), Marie Laureillard (Université Lumière-Lyon 2, Lyon), LI Shiyan (Université Aix-Marseille), LIN Chen-Yu (School of Music, University of Liverpool), LO Yuen-yi (Artist, Hong Kong & University of Macau), susan pui san lok (Artist, Middlesex University, London), Rachel Marsden (Birmingham City University), Elizabeth Parke (University of Toronto), Petra Pölzl (Freie Universität Berlin), Keith Wallace (Editor-in-Chief of Yishu), Peggy WANG (Bowdoin College, Maine), Mi YOU (Academy of Media Arts Cologne)



Concept and Co-ordination


Franziska Koch is a Post-doctoral Researcher and Assistant Professor to the Chair of Global Art History at the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” of Heidelberg University. Her research centres on contemporary Asian art with a focus on China and Korea and exhibitions as mediators of transcultural artistic and curatorial practices. She co-edited Negotiating Difference. Contemporary Chinese Art in the Global Context (Weimar, VDG Weimar, 2012). Her dissertation will be published as Die “chinesische Avantgarde” und das Dispositiv der Ausstellung. Konstruktionen chinesischer Gegenwartskunst im Spannungsfeld der Globalisierung (Bielefeld, Transcript, end of 2015).

Rui Oliveira Lopes is a Post-doctoral Researcher at the Artistic Studies Research Centre, Faculty of Fine Arts of University of Lisbon and currently Head of its Research Programme “Art in a Global Perspective”. His research focuses on artistic and cultural interactions within Asia and between Asia and Europe, the museum as a place for intercultural dialogue, and the role of Western museums in promoting and protecting Asian (in)tangible cultural heritage. He edited Face to face. The Transcendence of the Arts in China and Beyond – Vol. 1 Historical perspectives; Vol. 2 Approaches to Modern and Contemporary Art (Lisbon, CIEBA/FBAUL, Global Art Monograph Series, 2013–2014).



Institutional Organizers and Co-operations


The International Symposium (In)Direct Speech. ‘Chineseness’ in contemporary art discourse and practice. Art Market, Curatorial Practices and Creative Processes is a joint project organized by the Artistic Studies Research Centre, Faculty of Fine Arts – University of Lisbon (CIEBA/FBAUL)  and the Chair of Global Art History, Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” – Heidelberg University , supported by the Observatory for China  and the Confucius Institute of the University of Lisbon.

On the Portuguese side of the cooperation, the symposium is part of the on-going research project Face to Face. The Transcendence of the Arts in China and Beyond, launched by the CIEBA/FBAUL in 2011 and partly coordinated by Rui Oliveira Lopes. It aims at examining how “Chinese” identities are constructed in transcultural artistic processes. In the framework of this project, the CIEBA/FBAUL already held an international conference, realized a curatorial project that resulted in an art and design exhibition and published two edited books along with the catalogue of the exhibition in 2013 (See: Lopes, R. O. (ed.), Face to Face. The Transcendence of the Arts in China and Beyond – Vol. 1 Historical Perspectives; Vol. 2 Approaches to Modern and Contemporary Art, Lisbon, CIEBA/FBAUL, Global Art Monograph Series, 2013–2014). The project is integrated in the research area “Art in a Global Perspective” at CIEBA/FBAUL, which aims to establish a network of relationships between critical art histories, and to examine how globalization transforms contemporary art and culture.

On the German side of the cooperation, the symposium presents one of several research activities and projects that internationally propel the innovative methodological agenda of the Chair of Global Art History at the Cluster of Excellence, Heidelberg University  which was created in 2009. Its research and teaching fosters a transcultural perspective on art objects and agents circulating across Asia and Europe and asks how their practices, discourses and institutions have informed entangled concepts of art and multiple ways to write art history. In particular, the symposium and the launch of the research network build on previous activities of the Chair, in particular a collaborative project with the Chair of Asian Art History of Freie Universität Berlin, that resulted in the international conference Negotiating Difference. Contemporary Chinese Art in the Global Context. The proceedings of the conference were published in 2012 (see Koch, F. et. al (eds.), Negotiating Difference. Contemporary Chinese Art in the Global Context, VDG Weimar, 2012).For more information please visit the respective institutional websites:


•    www.artglobalperspective.fba.ul.pt
•    www.asia-europe.uni-heidelberg.de

See symposium’s speaker Rachel Marsden (Birmingham City University, UK) blogging about the event at:

Symposium Day 1 and 2
Symposium Day 3
Symposium Day 4

Suche

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