Xu Bing and Contemporary Chinese Art: Cultural and Philosophical Reflections

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Hsingyuan Tsao, Roger T. Ames
SUNY Press, Sep 1, 2011 - Philosophy - 261 pages
How Chinese is contemporary Chinese art? Treasured by collectors, critics, and art world cognoscenti, this art developed within an avant-garde that looked West to find a language to strike out against government control. Traditionally, Chinese artistic expression has been related to the structure and function of the Chinese language and the assumptions of Chinese natural cosmology. Is contemporary Chinese art rooted in these traditions or is it an example of cultural self-colonization? Contributors to this volume address this question, going beyond the more obvious political and social commentaries on contemporary Chinese art to find resonances between contemporary artistic ideas and the indigenous sources of Chinese cultural self-understanding.

Focusing in particular on the acclaimed artist Xu Bing, this book looks at how he and his peers have navigated between two different cultural sites to establish a third place, a place from which to appropriate Western ideas and use them to address centuries-old Chinese cultural issues within a Chinese cultural discourse.

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1 Reading and Misreading
2 Reading Xu Bings A Book from the Sky
3 Seriousness Playfulness and a Religious Reading of Tianshu
4 Making Natural Languages in Contemporary Chinese Art
5 The Living Word
6 Transmission of Meanings
7 The Space Between
Appendix 1
Appendix 2

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About the author (2011)

Hsingyuan Tsao is Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of British Columbia.

Roger T. Ames is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and editor of Philosophy East and West. His many books include Confucian Cultures of Authority (coedited with Peter D. Hershock) and the translation (with D. C. Lau) of the classic Chinese work Sun Bin: The Art of Warfare, both also published by SUNY Press.

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