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Contemporary Asian Art and Exhibitions

Contemporary Asian Art and Exhibitions: Connectivities and World-making

Michelle Antoinette
Caroline Turner
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: ANU Press
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  • Book Info
    Contemporary Asian Art and Exhibitions
    Book Description:

    This volume draws together essays by leading art experts observing the dramatic developments in Asian art and exhibitions in the last two decades. The authors explore new regional and global connections and new ways of understanding contemporary Asian art in the twenty-first century.

    eISBN: 978-1-925022-00-1
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Introduction Part 1 Critical Themes, Geopolitical Change and Global Contexts in Contemporary Asian Art
    (pp. 1-22)
    Caroline Turner

    This book explores cultural connections and intersections that are related to the dynamic changes in art in Asia in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. It derives from an Australian Research Council (ARC) funded research project (Turner and Antoinette 2010–2013) examining new cultural networks in contemporary Asian art in the twenty-first century with a central theme of ‘connectivities’, from which this volume of essays takes its title.¹ The four key themes of this book, which are outlined below, are drawn from this research.

    The focus of our research is contemporary Asian art, broadly defined as the art of...

  5. Introduction Part 2 Asia Present and Resonant: Themes of Connectivity and World-making in Contemporary Asian Art
    (pp. 23-46)
    Michelle Antoinette

    The essays in this book provide new ways of understanding Asia and its art as sites not only of local cultural difference, but also regional and worldly connection—connections between Asia and the world, inter-Asia or intra-Asian regional connections, empathic connections forged via art’s affective and sensory possibilities, and Asia–Australia connections. With its art focus, the authors engage with these four key themes to investigate what Asian art reveals about such cultural connections and examine how these issues are particular to Asia. In so doing the essays emphasise the connective medium of art itself as a vital key in...

  6. 1. Polytropic Philippine: Intimating the World in Pieces
    (pp. 47-66)
    Patrick D. Flores

    Reflecting on the theme ‘world making’, I was struck by two phrases that speak of the world as radically discriminating: ‘a world like no other’ and ‘worlds apart’ authenticate the singular and the different, which invoke the other, so that distance can be marked and the incomparable imagined. On the other hand, I would be reminded of certain modes of inquiry, such as ‘world history’ and ‘comparative religion’ that tend to encompass and include, to convene a multitude under the aegis of relationality or relativisation, which in turn survives the translations of context. This essay hints at a possible shift...

  7. 2. The Worlding of the Asian Modern
    (pp. 67-88)
    John Clark

    This paper reconsiders the historical depth and global range of art works and practices that we might call the ‘Asian Modern’.¹ It will not rehearse the copious arguments for,² and some against,³ the notion of a modernity in Asian art emerging parallel to and, at the same time, in concert with, modernity in Euramerica. Suffice it to reiterate that the Asian Modern is an hermeneutic construct for interpreting multiple art discourses; an empirical field for understanding and ordering the minutiae of data about art practice and interpretation; and, a periodisation that can be culturally and historically denoted in a particular...

  8. 3. An Experiment in Connectivity: From the ‘West Heavens’ to the ‘Middle Kingdom’
    (pp. 89-108)
    Chaitanya Sambrani

    This essay is based on my curatorial work for the exhibitionPlace. Time. Play: Contemporary Art from the ‘West Heavens’ to the ‘Middle Kingdom’(various venues in Shanghai, October–December 2010). The first instance of contemporary art collaboration between artists from India and China, this exhibition resulted from unprecedented opportunities and challenges for artists, curators and scholars from the two countries. In addition to the exhibition, this project involved fieldwork and dialogue for participants from both countries, and fed into the ongoing ‘West Heavens’ platform that has grown to encompass Sino-Indian dialogue across art, architecture, political theory and film.¹ A...

  9. 4. The Irreverent Contemporary and Radical Tradition
    (pp. 109-128)
    Pat Hoffie

    The Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT), an exhibition with an explicitly regional focus that presents art from Asia, the Pacific and Australia, is held at Queensland’s QAGOMA.¹ There have been seven iterations in its 20-year history. This essay traces how the theme of the first triennial held at the Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) in 1993—Tradition and Change—sought from the outset to establish an interpretation of the ‘contemporary’ in the region as emerging from a series of critically responsive, historically and geographically specific discursive spaces. Drawing from an anthology of critical writing focused on the 20-year history of...

  10. 5. Future Imaginaries
    (pp. 129-142)
    Charles Merewether

    The governance, if not control, of water has become an increasingly critical subject. The subject of water—of seas and rivers—as integral to the sustenance and sustainability of the land, demands urgent attention.² Over the past century this has become a major issue that requires an understanding both across and between national boundaries, giving consideration to the increasing needs of individual countries, especially as attempts to address the adequate supply of water has driven some countries to take what can only be described as drastic measures. These measures are not an issue of territorial or national sovereignty, such as...

  11. 6. Response and Responsibility: On the Cosmo-politics of Generosity in Contemporary Asian Art
    (pp. 143-158)
    Marsha Meskimmon

    Between 1996 and 1997, Indonesian artist Dadang Christanto produced the sculptural installationThey Give Evidence(Mereka Memberi Kesaksian). The work, funded through a grant from the Japanese Government, was first shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo and then travelled to the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art. In Japan, the installation consisted of 20 sculpted male and female figures arranged facing forward in four rows of five,¹ each bearing in their outstretched arms the traces of bodies, rendered palpable in, and by, the folds and contours of clothing. The figures that comprise this work are eloquent in...

  12. 7. The Unexpected Guest: Food and Hospitality in Contemporary Asian Art
    (pp. 159-178)
    Francis Maravillas

    In recent times, there has been a growing critical and curatorial interest in the conjunction of food and art. This renewed interest in the alimentary has coincided with a heightened awareness of the ethics and poetics of hospitality that underlie the cosmopolitan imaginings of home and belonging in contemporary art. This paper explores the potential of contemporary art in and from Asia to engender new ways of imagining, engaging and becoming at home in the world through distinctly alimentary practices of ‘world-making’ that are predicated upon acts of hospitality and dialogue within and across specific geographical locales. In particular, it...

  13. 8. Under the Shadow: Problems in Museum Development in Asia
    (pp. 179-198)
    Oscar Ho

    In May 2012 the office of Museum Plus (M+), the art space to be opened in 2017 at Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD), held their inaugural exhibition of contemporary art entitledMobile M+: Yau Ma Tei. The multi-sited exhibition was presented across various sites in the working-class neighbourhood of Yau Ma Tei at West Kowloon. Local artists were commissioned to create installations and video art on the streets with the intention of bringing art closer to the people. Lee Chun Fung, artist and director of the nearby artists’ space Wufarten¹ went to theMobile M+opening ceremony in...

  14. 9. People and Partnership: An Australian Model for International Arts Exchanges – The Asialink Arts Program, 1990–2010
    (pp. 199-218)
    Alison Carroll

    This essay outlines how Asialink Arts, a small program evolving in Melbourne from 1990, became the main arts exchange vehicle for Australian arts engagement with Asia over the next two decades. The program was based on the principle of ‘people and partnership’.

    The comments at the beginning of this essay from a curator and an artist always resonated for the Asialink Arts program. They relate to the crucial role of personal experience in a different culture, and how creative people respond to this. Opening up opportunities for Australian creative people in Asia and supporting their experience was the most important...

  15. 10. Australia’s Other Asia in the Asian Century
    (pp. 219-232)
    Jacqueline Lo

    The recently deposed (Labor-led) Australian Government released itsAustralia in the Asian Centurywhite paper in October 2012.¹ The document has been the subject of public and academic scrutiny both within Australia and in the region. There was praise for the document’s emphasis on education to develop Australia’s ‘Asia-relevant capabilities’, even while the issue of how the Asia-turn is to be implemented and funded remained unaddressed. TheJakarta Post gavean insight into the region’s response to the white paper:

    [B]efore a nation can become a competitive force, it must have an accepted place in the region. On this key...

  16. Epilogue ‘My Future is Not a Dream’: Shifting Worlds of Contemporary Asian Art and Exhibitions
    (pp. 233-254)
    Michelle Antoinette

    If Asian art of the 1990s offered glimpses into the shifting conditions of Asian societies, especially those of newly industrialised, globalising status, the essays gathered in this collection suggest that art at the turn of the century was poised to take on a different project. They collectively askwhat are we to make of this newly changed Asia, for the present and for the future, for Asia itself and for the world?

    At the Introduction to this volume, Caroline Turner’s essay foregrounds the dramatic shifts in the world of contemporary art at the closing decade of the twentieth century and...

  17. Selected Reading on Contemporary Asian Art
    (pp. 255-264)
  18. Contributor Biographies
    (pp. 265-268)