What are some of the issues facing contemporary art and artists in China?

Art & Design
Tutor: None Selected Time limit: 1 Day

Using political influences, cultural changes, and world interactions

Jun 2nd, 2015

Chinese contemporary art has always been entangled with the western art. In fact, this entanglement started when China began to modernize under the western influence. In this condition, the intellectuals’ attitude towards the local culture swings back and forth between conceit and inferiority, similarly, the attitude towards western changes between admiration and resistance. During the Fine Art New Tide in 1985 when China began to be open to the world after the culture shortage, Chinese people were eager to cure the “disease” with the help of western culture. Therefore, it is evident that Chinese contemporary culture followed the western as an example. Here is a case in point. After the Robert Rauschenberg Exhibition hold in China, many followers appear in China. Though this kind of imitation is immature; it is still an indispensable step in the growth of the Chinese contemporary art. In addition, faced with various western cultural resources, Chinese contemporary artists chose to imitate. The imitation with individual and local experience indicates that the imitation is based on the demand of the local culture. Meanwhile, it is undeniable that there are accidental and blind imitations. Just as what Shang Yang told to me, “Someone came across an idea in a book and felt greatly inspired to practice it and make speeches according to it, thus, others followed and imitate him to create a theory in China. There is a phenomenon from 1980’s to now.” “Actually, it is accidental. If the book is not picked up or translated, it is impossible for the idea in it to develop in China. For instance, a large number of people follow the style of Freud Lucian. What’s more, a common painter, was the most popular one in China and had a great influence on the Chinese art. It is ridiculous.”

In the entanglement of imitation and alienation, as well as admiration and resistance, Chinese contemporary art in 1990s saw the post-colonialism market. Then, a sharp and serious problem arose: which way we should choose to go, returning to the local culture and facing the rigid ideology, strict control and sluggish market, or producing paintings in large quantities to meet the demand of the western post-colonialism. The Chinese overseas artists, on one hand, had no choice but to accept the inferior situation, on the other hand, they tried hard to take advantage of the cultural background and resolve the problem in the perspective of the local culture and on the basis of the local resources (Huang Yangli defined this way as Using Eastern Culture to Win Western Culture).


Jun 2nd, 2015

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