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New Book on Exhibitions of Contemporary Chinese Art

Oct 13, 2016

Dr. phil. Franziska Koch, Assistant Professor of Global Art History at the Heidelberg Center for Transcultural Studies (HCTS), published her dissertation entitled “Die ‘chinesische Avantgarde’ und das Dispositiv der Ausstellung” with transcript.

In her book “Die ‘chinesische Avantgarde’ und das Dispositiv der Ausstellung. Konstruktionen chinesischer Gegenwartskunst im Spannungsfeld der Globalisierung”, she analyzes how art from the People’s Republic of China has been significantly mediated through large-scale international exhibitions, whose numbers have dramatically risen since the 1990s. Such exhibitions coined the label “Chinese avant-garde” and enabled a new global form of interaction with art production in mainland China.

The study combines a transcultural perspective with conceptual tools from art history, media and cultural studies to query how both, art works from China as well as images of China, are constituted through the dispositif of the exhibition. The author diachronically examines 20 major exhibitions in relation to artistic developments in China, while furnishing a synchronic view of agents (with a focus on curators, critics, and collectors), institutions (various types of art museums, bi-/triennials, and bi-national exhibitions), and discourses involved in shaping a new canon.

The appendix of the illustrated volume includes short descriptions of more than 100 group exhibitions of contemporary Chinese art that were on display in Europe, North-America, Australia and other parts of the world between 1982 and 2014, around 50 short biographies of involved curators, critics, and collectors and nine short descriptions of significant private collections. The data presents a selection of the larger content of the relational databank Group Exhibitions of Contemporary Chinese Art (GECCA) that was compiled by the author and is also partially visualized in the google earth based representation GECCAmapped which was conceived in collaboration with the Heidelberg Research Architecture (HRA).

Franziska Koch’s dissertation was supervised by Prof. Dr. Hubert Locher (initially at Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart, then at Philipps-Universität Marburg). Prof. Dr. Monica Juneja (Heidelberg University) became the second supervisor of the thesis that was defended in 2012 (summa cum laude). The study was supported by a scholarship of the DFG Graduate Research School “Image – Body – Medium. An Anthropological Perspective” at School of New Media Karlsruhe (2006-2009).

After Franziska Koch had joined the Cluster in July 2009, her project also benefited from her work as co-coordinator of “Multi-centred Modernisms” (D13, 2009/10) and core member of “Arts and the Transcultural” (Net1, 2013-2015). The printing of the book was partially funded by the DFG in connection with the Cluster and by the Baden-Württembergische China-Gesellschaft e.V. Currently, Franziska Koch is Assistant Professor of Global Art History at the Heidelberg Center for Transcultural Studies (HCTS).

Further information on the book is available here.


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