’Avant-garde’ Art Groups in China, 1979-1989 by Paul Gladston

By Paul Gladston

This ebook offers a severe account of 4 of the main major avant-garde chinese language artwork teams and institutions of the past due Nineteen Seventies and ’80s. it's made up mostly of conversations carried out by way of the writer with contributors of those agencies that offer perception into the situations of inventive construction through the decade best as much as the Tiananmen sq. bloodbath of 1989. The conversations are supported by means of a longer advent and different entire notes that supply a close evaluate of the old situations less than which the teams and institutions developed.

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The Fourth Congress of Chinese Writers and Artists took place in Beijing between 30 October and 16 November 1979. ’ The One Hundred Flowers Bloom Campaign was a CCP campaign, during 1956 and 1957, which encouraged Chinese citizens to express their views on matters of national government policy openly. ’ The campaign was eventually brought to an end after soliciting comments highly critical of CCP policy. Many of those who had voiced criticism of the party were severely punished. Some commentators have interpreted the One Hundred Flowers Bloom Campaign as a calculated attempt by Mao Zedong to flush out and crush dissent within the PRC, although this is by no means certain.

Within this climate of optimism, artists belonging to the 1985 New Wave were strongly empowered to develop artistic techniques and critical thinking that departed markedly from the socialist-realist cultural discourses upheld officially within the PRC after 1949—a state of affairs that, as the art critics Lü Peng ৩╢ and Yi Dan ᯧЍ make clear (Lü and Yi 1991:2–4), can be understood as a revival of the modernizing ‘cultural revolution’ initiated by the May Fourth Movement in 1919. What is more, as a consequence of the effects of Deng’s policy of Reform and Opening, the development of this new approach towards art-making—that was widely referred to within the PRC at the time as Zhongguo xiandai yishu Ё೑⦄ҷ㡎ᴃ (Chinese modern art)—was able to proceed with the benefit of a renewed openness to outside cultural influences mediated by a range of established and newly founded magazines and periodicals, including Meishu zazhi 㕢ᴃᴖᖫ(Art), Jiangsu huakan ∳㢣⬏ߞ (Jiangsu Pictorial) and Zhongguo meishu bao Ё೑㕢ᴃ᡹ (Fine Arts in China).

1969) as well as installations by Lin Tianmiao ᵫ໽㢫 (b. 1961). In addition to the emergence of inward-looking cynical and anti-humanist attitudes among contemporary artists within the PRC during the early 1990s, there was also an increasing outward-looking engagement with the international art world. indd 27 3/7/13 7:47:43 PM ‘Avant-garde’ Art Groups in China, 1979–1989 the PRC and by Chinese artists who had left China during the 1980s and 1990s became a regular feature of exhibitions worldwide, prompting a surge of interest in Chinese art on the international art market.

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