RESEARCH PROJECT | DIGITISATION PROJECT

Materials of the Future: Documenting Contemporary Chinese Art from 1980-1990


Thirty years ago, China embarked on a reform program that transformed not only the economy but also the arts.  Since then the growth and production of contemporary art have been dramatic, and so has the production of documentary materials bearing evidence to the critical debates that surrounded its development. However to this day many of the most important art publications and critical writing, especially from the late 1970s and 1980s, have been difficult to locate, due primarily to the lack of systematic collecting and archiving infrastructure.

In 2006, Asia Art Archive began a focused archiving project called 'Materials of the Future: Documenting Contemporary Chinese Art from 1980-1990'.  This project aimed at developing a comprehensive collection of primary research materials including books, periodicals, newspapers, exhibition brochures, invitations, video recordings, correspondence and other relevant documents.  As part of this project AAA has also digitized the personal archives of renowned artists and curators.
 
As part of this project, more than 70,000 digital files of reference material related to select Chinese art practitioners, including Fei Dawei, Lu Peng, Mao Xuhui, Wu Shanzhuan, and Zheng Shengtian and the archives of Tokyo Art Gallery, as well as 75 interviews with key artists, curators, and critics.  From a portion of these interviews, AAA has created a documentary film about experimental art in South China (Guangzhou) in the 1980s entitled From Jean-Paul Sartre to Teresa Teng: Contemporary Cantonese Art in the 1980s. 

AAA’s 1980s archiving project culminated with the launch of a comprehensive website portal called www.china1980s.org in September 2010. To celebrate this launch, AAA collaborated with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York in organizing a series of events this fall in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and New York.  These events included panel discussions with key artists and critics, as well as a presentation of MoMA’s important publication titled Contemporary Chinese Art: Primary Documents, edited by Professor Wu Hung.

With the launch of the Collection Online, AAA is able to offer online access to the digital material in its collection. In addition to scanned images, correspondences, artists’ personal documents, and streaming audio and video of performance art, artist talks, lectures, and other art events, three Special Collections are currently available online: Zhang Xiaogang Archive, Mao Xuhui Archive and Zhang Peili Archive.

Acknowledgment
Materials of the Future: Documenting Contemporary Chinese Art from 1980-1990 is made possible by the generous support of:
- The Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation
- The W.L.S. Spencer Foundation
- Ilyas and Mara Khan
- Foundation of the Arts Initiatives

Related Events:

Screening | 31 Mar - 01 Apr 2011
From Jean-Paul Sartre to Teresa Teng: Contemporary Cantonese Art in the 1980s - New York and Hawaii

Screening | 07 - 22 Jan 2010
From Jean-Paul Sartre to Teresa Teng: Contemporary Cantonese Art in the 1980s - Guangzhou and New Delhi

Screening | 05 - 09 Dec 2010
From Jean-Paul Sartre to Teresa Teng: Contemporary Cantonese Art in the 1980s - Beijing and New Jersey

Screening | 18 Sep 2010
From Jean-Paul Sartre to Teresa Teng: Contemporary Cantonese Art in the 1980s - Shenzhen

Talk Series | Digitisation Project | Book Launch | Sep - Oct 2010
Co-launch of Two Documentary Projects

Asia Art Archive (AAA) and The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) celebrate the completion of two documentary projects that are essential to a deeper understanding of the history of contemporary Chinese art: AAA’s archiving project, Materials of the Future: Documenting Contemporary Chinese Art from 1980-1990 and MoMA’s publication, Contemporary Chinese Art: Primary Documents (http://moma.org/learn/intnlprograms).

Screening | 24 Jul 2010
From Jean-Paul Sartre to Teresa Teng: Contemporary Cantonese Art in the 1980s - Manchester, UK

Screening | 15 Oct 2011
From Jean-Paul Sartre to Teresa Teng:
Contemporary Cantonese Art in the 1980s
- Shanghai


This event is part of The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation China Research Grant 2013 Grantee: Katherine Grube

Materials of the Future: Documenting Contemporary Chinese Art from 1980-1990
Materials of the Future: Documenting Contemporary Chinese Art from 1980-1990
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