Chinese Avant-Garde Art 前卫艺术


  • Guohua 国画 - defined China's physical beauty as an appropriately patriotic subject for painting.
  • Scar Paintings - described the calamities and spiritual wounds caused by the Cultural Revolution.
  • Rustic Realism - depict ordinary citizens, particuarly herders, peasants, or minority people, the type of people encountered by the young artists during their years spent working in the countryside. with a "high degree of realism [and naturalism] and [featuring] extreme technical finesse." "Realism is acceptable to people in almost all ideological camps politically and socially"
  • Political Pop - One senses the artists' self-mockery, because they are unable to do anything about their own circumstances and environment.
  • Avant-Garde
  • AG characteristics -"involved occasional political dissidence" -"context of the conflict between the old and new traditions" -often "in a situation of suppression" -"it has no links with the official art of the Cultural Revolution and was developed in opposition to official styles." -"promoted creative freedom and individual human freedom." -"unconcerned with commercial trends, but instead sought critical recognition, first, within China and, now, abroad." Advents - (that allowed for the movement) -"partial 'retreat of the state.'"

    ACTORS INVOLVED Star Group Show 星星美展 - (a group that produced a show was that avant-garde for Avant-Garde style). AG Groups of 85 and 86 functions: 1) "defensive" - strength in numbers concept - (protection after being highly critical - sort of like the revolutions in the M.E./N.A. - you can shut the show, but the party still continues.) "As an exhibition, it will be closed, but as art it will not be concluded." 2) individual value for the artists "provided individuals with opportunities to vent the instincts that would otherwise be suppressed." in a group setting identity is often merged or lost, here being part of the group is definition and provides a platform. 3) self funded exhibitions - group pooling of funds

    TYPES OF CHINESE AG ART related to the question of humanism

    -rationalist painting "expressed their ideas in a cold, severe tone, so as to create a new, tightly controlled structure in which emotions play little role." -"Current of Life" school "addresses the question of the nature of life in order to explore the value of humanity." "painters express their opinions about the nature of life by means of venting their own individual emotions or expressing their own life situations." -performance art - "expressed individual moods of oppression"

    CONCLUSION "The Chinese avant-garde is a movement that seeks to attack and destroy the traditional order in the art world, with the ultimate goal of attaining artistic freedom. It "strived for cosmopolitan values linked neither to the dominant official style nor to the new markets its advocates seek."

    "To a great degree, the avant-garde art movement was not about art; it concerned cultural attitudes and concepts that were bigger than the forms of art that contained them."

    THOUGHTS Like most art, I find that the most valuable part is art's effect on culture and the societal changes that can come from that. The links between advents in art and politics can be plotted out with connections of varying degrees of influence between them.

    APPLICATION Initial Question How to apply this to current urban status quo?

    "All five of these artists wish to transcend the level of psychological and personal feelings to make more universal statements. They have the potential for being more dangerous to the old artistic culture in China than the more openly critical artists because they seek to create a viable alternative to the old art. The new artistic styles they create, if successful, may replace the styles of the status quo."

    Applied Arts and Culture Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer argue that "mass culture" is constantly created by the "culture industry" like publishing houses, film studios, and the record industry. What is the connection between mass culture and what Xu Bing calls "applied arts"? What is the appropriate connection? The industrialization of culture caused "artistic excellence to be displaced" and evaluated on new artificial grounds like "sales figures as a measure of worth." (wikipedia) For instance "a novel, for example, was judged meritorious solely on whether it was a best-seller"

    Currently, views, clicks and unique visits are some metrics in the digital realm. Those are the metrics for false systems of evaluation and profit that Umair Haque dubs "fake costs." So not only are many of the metrics false, but the actual "value creating system" is false in this "zombieconomy."

    What are the effective systems and what are new domains and metrics for evaluation (or judgement)? Exploration of systems that create value and that culture culture.

    OTHER "practice is the only measure of truth." Deng Xiaoping "truth is no more than validated practical reality caused Chinese who were disillusioned by the Cultural Revolution to shift their values to pragmatism and individualism."

    img "One example is Zhang Qun and Meng Luding's Adam and Eve's Rev- elation in the New Age" but what is the apple?

    quotes via: Andrews, Julia F. and Gao, Minglu. “The Avant-garde’s Challenge to Official Art”, ibid. pp. 221-278. wikipedia: Avant-Garde Mix: Umair Haque. "Why Busines is Brain-Dead and how to Wake Up"

    Notes taken on a mobile device. Pardon any auto-corrections or incorrection.