Lecture Series: Issues of Chinese Art: Memory, Innovation and Collecting

From H-Asia:

Five Lectures (in Mandarin Chinese) on Issues of Chinese Art: Memory, Innovation and Collecting, University of British Columbia, commencing this week--29 November 2006 and continuing through April 11, 2007
Memory, Innovation and Collecting: Five Lectures on Issues of Chinese Art at UBC, starting November 29, 2006

UBC Department of Art History, Visual Art & Theory and The Department of Asian Studies
The Chinese Canadian Artist Federation in Vancouver and The Studio of Fleeting Thoughts
is pleased to present:

Memory, Innovation and Collecting: Five Lectures on Issues of Chinese Art

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UBC Asian Centre, Auditorium, 1871 West Mall, Vancouver, BC
All events start at 7:00 PM and admission is free. Please note lectures are in Mandarin Chinese
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In a series of five lectures, Dr. Tsao Hsingyuan explores the continuity of memory, and traces how selected art objects and paintings of China from the Neolithic period to the 20th century are records of the past. In the first talk of the series, *Art for Eternity: Ritual and Mortuary Offerings*, Dr.Tsao reveals how massive bronze vessels and small portable jade pieces testify to a sense of extended time. In *Painting the Paragons: Figurative Painting of the Han and Tang, *tomb art and scrolls from the Han to Tang dynasties show how personal and legendary tales were models for emulation. *Referencing Antiquity: Values of Literati Art *outlines how Literati Art theory, through promoting the use of the past, pushes painting to breathtaking compositions and styles. *Innovation in Continuity: Creativity and Tradition* discusses how the values of Literati Painting have endured and manifested in art of the 20th century. In the final lecture, *Private Passions: Collecting and Collections, *selections from prominent collections of books, paintings and calligraphy in Vancouver will be featured in a discussion on the impact of art collections on cultural landscapes.

"Art for Eternity--Ritual and Mortuary Offerings"
The early art of China is imbued with a sense of time that weaves impermanence with eternity. Cultural production in the early period of Chinese art ranges widely from monumental bronze vessels and bells to intimate handheld gold and jade carvings. These objects in their materiality, style and content demanded massive human resources and are expressions of time invested and embodied. Bronze and jade objects testify to an understanding that life and human memory is transient, and they are preparations by the past to preserve meanings for the future. Rare images of precious jade carvings from a local collection will be featured in this talk.

"Painting the Paragons: Figurative Painting of the Han and Tang"
Confucian teachings place great importance and heavy emphasis on learning from history, and this theme sheds light on selected works from the Han to Tang dynasties that feature didactic lessons from the past. The 3rd century BC Wu Liang Shrine carvings uphold ancestor deeds as models for emulation while Gu Kaizhi's 7th century scroll,* Admonitions of the Instructress to the Court Ladies,* promotes legendary virtuous women as outstanding subjects to admire.

"Referencing Antiquity: Values of Literati Art"
Literati painters of the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties frequently invoked the past to contest political and social issues. Selected paintings by Zhao Mengfu, Ni Zan, Dong Qichang and others show how knowledge and timely use of themes centuries old could evoke searing heartache or steadfast resolve. The criteria of Literati Artists and their works changed throughout the centuries with only one enduring commonality: literati artists always referenced antiquity. They knew past brush strokes, themes and styles were infused with historical significance and they skillfully used and read style as expressions of self on politics. Furthermore, Literati Artists drew heavily from past styles as a strategy to justify innovative daring and bold styles.

"Innovation in Continuity: Creativity and Tradition"
At the turn of the 20th century, China began a period of adaptation to tumultuous social and political changes. A series of events punctuating the last century compelled and inspired painters in China to oscillate between innovation and continuity of past styles. After a century of social turmoil and cultural agony, traditional Chinese ink painting did not vanish; recent developments in ink painting attest to the revitalization of literati art values in the late 20th century.

"Private Passions: Collecting and Collections"
In Vancouver there are numerous Chinese art collectors and several eminent collections hold priceless objects of great cultural value. In the past, these collectors and their collections shifted the West Coast cultural landscape, and in the future, these collections will continue to impact the cultural field. Collections of books, paintings, and calligraphy in Vancouver can be vital forces to propel change in public and private cultural spheres. As artists, art enthusiasts and art collectors, an active and flourishing cultural environment in the city we live in is essential to fulfilling our private passions.

DR. TSAO HSINGYUAN* received her M.A. degrees from the Central Academy of Art in Beijing and the University of California Berkeley, and her Ph.D from Stanford University. She currently teaches Chinese art at UBC in the Department of Art History, Visual art & Theory
For more information please contact Zoe Li at zoeli@interchange.ubc.ca


peter said…
the china institute currently has an exhibit of Contemporary Chinese Art in NYC called Shu: Reinventing Books in Contemporary China. here is video of the curator of the exhibit talking about it:


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