Shortlist | Exhibition as Site: Extended Case Study (China 1993)

Jane DeBevoise

independent art historian




Although experimental artists from China had begun to participate in overseas exhibitions since the late 1980s, 1993 was a watershed year. In that year an unusually large number of medium to large scale shows focused almost exclusively on contemporary art from inside Mainland China were presented for the first time outside Mainland China, in Germany, Hong Kong, Australia, Italy, and the United States (such as China Avant-Garde in Berlin, China’s New Art, Post 1989 in Hong Kong, and the Venice Biennale, etc.). These exhibitions included a wide range of media—painting, sculpture, installation and even performance, although it was the subset of paintings associated with Political Pop and Cynical Realist styles that achieved disproportionate media attention, to take a highly visible position in the developing canon of Chinese art. What were the political and economic, social and aesthetic urgencies to which these exhibitions were responding? What cultural conventions did these exhibitions contest and what new frameworks of art historical value did they propose? What was at stake for the curators and the artists? How did the site of display, institutional and geographic, inform the curatorial proposition, its shape and reception? How did these exhibitions compare to those taking place inside China at the time? Did the critical response differ outside and inside China, and if so, why? In the continuing absence of museums and academic programs dedicated to the study of recent art from China, what was the impact of these "offshore" exhibitions on artistic practice and the developing narrative of Chinese contemporary art?

Note: This Shortlist was produced in conjunction with the symposium Sites of Construction: Exhibitions and the Making of Recent Art History in Asia, 21–23 October 2013. The symposium investigated the implications of exhibitions becoming the primary sites of art historical construction in the region. Organised in four sessions and punctuated by three keynote speeches, the three-day event brought together international scholars, curators, writers, and artists to explore the multiple roles exhibitions play. The present Shortlist, prepared by Jane DeBevoise, accompanies the panel "Exhibition as Site: Extended Case Study (China 1993)"—a series of conversations with organisers and participants of selected exhibitions that took place in 1993, a watershed moment in the development of Chinese contemporary art. 


Recommended Readings


Ai Weiwei, Xu Bing, Zeng Xiaojun, eds., Hei pi shu (Black Cover Book), Ai Weiwei, Xu Bing, Zeng Xiaojun, Beijing, 1994 [Traditional Chinese]
艾未未、徐冰、曾小俊編 ,<黑皮書>,艾未未,徐冰,曾小俊,北京,1994 [繁體中文] REF.AWW

Andrews, Julia F., et al., Fragmented Memory: The Chinese Avant-Garde in Exile, Wexner Center for the Arts, The Ohio State University, Columbus, 1993 [English] EX.USA.FMC

Doran, Valerie C., ed., China’s New Art, Post-1989, Hanart TZ Gallery, Hong Kong, 1993 [Traditional Chinese]
任卓華編,<後八九中國新藝術>,漢雅軒, 香港,1993 [繁體中文] EXL.HGK.CNA

Doran, Valerie C., ed., China’s New Art, Post-1989, Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong, 2001 [Traditional Chinese & English]
任卓華編,<後八九中國新藝術>,亞洲藝術文獻庫, 香港,2001 [繁體中文及英文] EXL.HGK.CNA

Elliott, David, Lydie Mepham, eds., Silent Energy, The Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, 1993 [English] EX.UNK.SIE

Fei Dawei, ‘Wenhua youmu zhuyi de xianshixing—Fang weinisi shuangnian zhan zhuxi Ao Liwa (An Interview with Achille Bonito Oliva, Artistic Director of 45th Venice Biennale)’, Hsiung Shih Art Monthly, Taipei, 1993, no. 271, pp 20–27 [Traditional Chinese]
費大為,'文化遊牧主義的現實性—訪威尼斯雙年展主席奧利瓦',<雄獅美術>,台北,1993年,第271期,第20–27頁 [繁體中文] PER.HSA

Fei Dawei, ‘Jingmu de liliang—Fang yingguo niujin xiandai yishu guan guanchang daiwei. Ailuete (An Interview with David Elliott, Curator of Museum of Modern Art, Oxford)’, Artist Magazine, Taipei, 1993, no. 8, pp 214–227 [Traditional Chinese]
費大為,'靜穆的力量─訪英國牛津現代藝術館館長戴維.艾略特', <藝術家雜誌>, 台北,1993年,第8期,第214–227頁 [繁體中文] PER.ART

Gao Minglu, China/Avant-Garde, China Art Gallery, Beijing, 1989 [Simplified Chinese]
高名潞,<中國現代藝術展>,中國美術館,北京,1989 [簡體中文及英文] EXS.CHN.CAG

Guan Ren, ‘Berlin Chinese Avant-garde Art Exhibition: an Interview with HANS VAN DIJK ’, Hanmo Art News, 4 May 1993, p 2 [not yet available] 觀人,〈柏林《中國前衛藝術展》 ─訪組織者漢斯〉,翰墨藝訊,1993年5月4日,第2頁

Kong Changan (pen name: Chan, Lauk'ung), ‘Ten Years of the Chinese Avant-garde: Waiting for the Curtain to Fall’, Flash Art, Milan, January & February 1992, pp 110–114 [Emglish] PER.FLA

Kong Changan, ‘Bu lengmo—45 jie weinisi shuangnian zhan “kaifang zhan 93” tulu zhuanwen’ (‘Concerned-The 45th Biennial Art Exhibition’), Artist Magazine, Taipei, 1993, no.6, pp 394–403 [Traditional Chinese] 孔長安,'不冷漠:45屆威尼斯雙年展「開放展’93」圖錄專文',<藝術家雜誌>, 台北,1993年,第6期,第394–403頁 [繁體中文] PER.ART

Noth, Jochen, et al., eds., China Avant-garde, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, 1993 [English] EX.GER.CAG

The First 1990’s Biennial Art Fair Guangzhou, China (Oil Painting Section), Sichuan Meishu Chubanshe, Chengdu, 1992 [Simplified Chinese]
<中國廣州 . 首屆九十年代藝術雙年展(油畫部份)作品文獻>, 四川美術出版社,成都,1992 [簡體中文] EX.CHN.BAF

Solomon, Andrew, ‘Their Irony, Humor (and Art) Can Save China’, The New York Times Magazine, New York City, 1993, no. 6, pp 42–51, 66, 70–72 [English] CLP.93.12.19

Wang Lin, Chinese Fine Arts in 1990's: Experiences in Fine Arts of China, 1993 [Simplified Chinese]
王林,<九十年代的中國美術:中國經驗>,1993 [簡體中文] EX.CHN.CFA

Xinsheng dai yishuzhan: Qingzhu ‘Beijing qingnian bao’ fukan shi zhounian (New Generation Art: Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Resuming Publication of Beijing Youth News), Beijing Qingnian Baoshe , Beijing, 1991 [Simplified Chinese]
<新生代藝術展: 慶祝《北京青年報》復刊十周年>,北京青年報社,北京,1991 [簡體中文] EXS.CHN.NGA

XLV Esposizione Internationale d'Arte 1993: La Biennale di Venezia—Punti cardinali dell'arte (45th International Exhibition of Art 1993: Venice Biennale—Cardinal Points of Art), Marsilio Editori, Venice, 1993 [Italian] EX.ITA.BVE.1993

Yang Jinsong, ‘On ’93 Berlin Chinese Avant-garde Art Exhibition’, Jiangsu Art Monthly, Nanjing, 1993, no. 6, pp 3–5 [Simplified Chinese]
楊勁松,'不是中國浪潮的浪潮 不是歐洲模式的模式─評93’Berlin中國前衛藝術展',<江蘇畫刊>,南京,1993年,第6期,第3–5頁[簡體中文] PER.JSA

Yang Jinsong, et al., ‘Special Column of the 45th Biennial Art Exhibition, Venice’, Jiangsu Art Monthly, Nanjing, 1993, no. 11 [Simplified Chinese]
王友身等編,'第45威尼斯國際雙年展特輯',<江蘇畫刊>,南京,1993年,第11期 [簡體中文] PER.JSA

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