CHINESENESS IN CONTEMPORARY ART DISCOURSE AND PRACTICE. ART MARKET, CURATORIAL PRACTICES AND CREATIVE PROCESSES
16 > 19 MARÇO I AUDITÓRIO 3.61 FBAUL
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.
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 do no longer look at Chinese art as a visual expression of “Chineseness,” conceived as a long-standing, homogeneous geographic and cultural unit. Responding to recent takes on Chinese culture that are either charged with (neo-)nationalist assumptions fuelled by the PRC’s role as a rising global power or with long-standing Western strategies to essentialise the Chinese “other,” critical scholars consider instead how and by whom cultural identity is constructed and how its boundaries are continuously claimed, contested and propagated. In the name of a “global art history,” which is conscious about its epistemological limits, these scholars suggest to critically engage 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 risen 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, it 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 demarcation. 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 acting embedded in (very) different institutional, economic, and political power relations than their Chinese colleagues.