Presented by Salamanca Arts Centre.
Chinese artists present
tradition-induced visions of contemporary life.
Dis-/Continuing Traditions showcases contemporary video and sound art from mainland China. Although all of the exhibited works make use of modern digital-reproductive technologies, each can also be interpreted as maintaining significant relationships to China’s distinctive cultural traditions. Included in this are formal reciprocities between absence and presence (xu-shi), as well as vital resonances between art, humanity and nature (qiyun shengdong) characteristic of traditional Chinese culture.
This bringing together of modern technologies and cultural tradition extends a durable strain of innovative artistic practice in China exemplified by the “composite” photographs of Lang Jingshan (Long Chin-san) (1892-1995)—described as “China’s first photographer” and “the father of Asian photographic art”—which combine lens-based technologies and collage-montage with the multi-perspectival/temporal compositional principles of traditional Chinese ink-and-brush painting. It also resonates with a wider modernising East-Asian aesthetic sensibility exemplified by the Japanese Confucian/Zen Buddhist scholar and 20th-century garden designer, Mirei Shigemori’s (1896-1975) idea of a “timeless modernity” involving disjunctive reworkings of rather than radical breakings with the past, and the maverick late 17th/early 18th-century painter, Shitao’s (1642-1707) upholding of traditional Chinese artistic thinking and practice as having the potential to renew human society and culture.
Dis-/Continuing Traditions relates to extensive research conducted by the curators into the production, reception and display of art in modern and contemporary China. In addition to showcasing contemporary video and sound art from China, the exhibition will draw upon and adapt approaches to display proposed by the Hong Kong-based gallerist, Johnson Chang (Chang Tsong-zung) intended as conducive to the exhibiting of contemporary artworks engaged with traditional Chinese artistic practices and aesthetics.
Dr Lynne Howarth-Gladston
Professor Paul Gladston
Birdhead (Song Tao and Ji Weiyu)
Friday 19 February – Saturday 6 March 2021
10:00am – 4:00pm daily
+ Friday Night Twilight Series 5:00pm – 8:00pm
About the Guest Curators
Lynne Howarth-Gladston is an artist, curator and independent scholar. She graduated with a PhD in Critical Theory from the University of Nottingham (2012). Lynne has exhibited her painting internationally and was co-curator, with Paul Gladston, of the exhibition New China/New Art Contemporary Video from Shanghai and Hangzhou, staged at the Djanogly Gallery, University of Nottingham (2015). She was also an expert contributor to the BBC4 documentary, Kew’s Forgotten Queen: The Life of Marianne North (2016).
Paul Gladston is the inaugural Judith Neilson Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. He has written extensively on Chinese contemporary art and aesthetics with regard to the concerns of critical theory. His book-length publications include Contemporary Chinese art: a critical history (2014), awarded “best publication” at the Art Awards China (2015), and Contemporary Chinese art, aesthetic modernity and Zhang Peili: towards a critical contemporaneity (2019), which has been described as “a landmark work both in terms of cultural-criticism and art-historical analysis.”
Tan Lijie. Still from Hausmann in the Tropics (2017-2020). Single-channel colour video, with sound 31’52”. Courtesy and © of the Artist