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GECCA mapped – Mapping Western Group Exhibitions of Contemporary Chinese Art after 1979

This online-resource provides an overview of ca. 60 group exhibitions of 'contemporary', 'modern', 'new', 'avant-garde' or 'experimental art' from the People's Republic of China. All of them were organized between 1982 and 2009 and mounted in 'Western' countries, i.e. mainly North-America and Western Europe, but also Australia and some instances crossed Japan, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong as well.

The medium of (group and panoramic) exhibitions has played a fundamental role in creating a global context for Chinese art within and outside of the People's Republic after the end of the "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution" (1966-1976) and since the political reforms initiated by Deng Xiaoping in 1978/79. The Western reception of these shows was very influential in the establishment – in economic, discursive and aesthetic terms – of a certain international canon of artworks, artists and curators. This canon in fact came to be increasingly considered representative of the whole of Chinese artistic production, although it actually tends to exclude large parts of the overall artistic activity such as "national ink painting" (guohua), conventional or conservative academic oil painting, as well as those works involving political or consumption oriented subject matter, including mass-produced decorative and popular artworks.

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Resource types: Metadata on Exhibitions
Time period: 1982 to 2009
Language: English



The resource is now available for download (5mb) and can be viewed with Google Earth.

How can this resource be used in teaching, studying and research?

The visual resource maps the Western exhibitions by displaying their locations/ host institutions, dates/ durations, the number of artists, and the names of curators. It allows the user to trace the routes of the touring exhibitions, to grasp the simultaneity of different exhibition events at any point in time, to discover dominant national, regional or other geographical patterns and quantitative shifts in the number of exhibitions or the agents involved, over time. The short descriptions of every exhibition (in English), which are attached to most entries, provide further links to visual and bibliographic resources. They feature the catalogue covers and link to the websites of host institutions and the exhibition websites if existent. This resource allows the user to combine and compare existing catalogue and exhibition data which had not hitherto been comprehensively compiled and presented online. It further links the data with other geo-referenced information and enables students, teachers and scholars to grasp the complex reception process of Chinese art over time and space in a visually stimulating manner. The new insights that the resource provides will hopefully provoke new questions and foster future exhibition-related research between Asia and Europe. There is also a plan to provide a special function that makes visible the network of curators and artists, which constitutes a specific exhibition-relation, and to represent thematic or genre-specific overlaps of certain exhibitions. This resource is a pilot-project that can be enlarged by adding on comparable exhibition-related reception processes pertaining to the artistic production of other Asian or European countries (e.g. Japan, Korea, Russia).

Highlights from this resource

Screenshot showing the locations of exhibitions in Europe
Screenshot showing the detailed version of an exhibition record
Screenshot showing the basic version of an exhibition record