Sunday, June 21, 2020

Zooming Through Chinese Contemporary Art

Bu Hua, 'The Light of Love 2', 2019, giclee print, image courtesy the artist
It's been such a pleasure working with wonderful teachers and senior art students from six different Sydney schools over the last few weeks, introducing them to aspects of contemporary art from China. Given the pandemic and current restrictions we've been using Zoom. Nothing can replace being physically present and engaging in dialogue and discussion, of course, but it's been a great experience for me to be 'zoomed' into many different classrooms - and I hope for the students too!

Recent talks for senior secondary students have included:

  • 'From Mao to Now: Introducing Chinese Contemporary Art' - a historical survey
  • 'Rethinking Ink in Contemporary Chinese Art' - a focus on the work of Xu Bing, Gu Wenda and Yang Yongliang
  • 'Holding Up Half the Sky: Women Artists in China'
  • 'A Woman's Work is Never Done: the everyday and the domestic in the work of Gao Rong, Dong Yuan and Tao Aimin' - a case study of three female contemporary artists
  • 'The Art of Spectacle' - Xu Zhen and MadeIn Company
  • 'Lost in Translation: unreadable calligraphy and the power of language in the work of Xu Bing,  Gu Wenda and Tao Aimin
  • 'Folk Art to High Art?' - the work of Gao Rong, Wang Lei and Li Hongbo
  • 'The Poetics of Porcelain: Clay and the Contemporary' - the work of Geng Xue and Liu Jianhua
  • 'Urbanism and Contemporary Chinese Photography'
However, I will tailor a talk to the needs and interests of your particular group, focusing on the artists you want to include in your case studies, including sample short answer and extended response questions.

For more information about availability and pricing, or to book a talk for your students or a workshop or professional learning session for teachers, use this link on my 'Teaching Chinese Art' website:

Saturday, January 25, 2020

To teachers:
In this Year of the Rat 2020, despite all our anxieties ranging from viral plagues to politicians, from bush fires to climatic catastrophe, art still matters. And the art produced by contemporary artists in China grapples with all the most significant issues of the day. I hope you will find inspiration here in these case studies and suggested learning activities, in artist interviews and extracts of art writing so that you can introduce your students to the extraordinary art emerging from mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The Year of the Rat has certainly not been an auspicious one thus far, there is no denying, but I hope you will find materials here to assist you in learning about some interesting artists, whether you are learning/teaching from home in isolation or at school.

To students:
In the case studies and other resources here you'll find a wealth of interesting artists and artworks. I hope you enjoy the discovery!

Who should use this site?
Anybody with an interest in cutting-edge Chinese contemporary art! But most especially art students from Years 10 - 12 and their teachers.

Who/what will you find here?

A range of interesting, very diverse, contemporary Chinese artists - from painters to photographers, installation and conceptual artists to sculptors and video artists. The author of the site, Sydney-based art educator, researcher and writer, Luise Guest, has met and interviewed the artists represented here, and has reviewed exhibitions of their work. Some are younger emerging artists, some are very well-established significant figures in the artworld. They represent new ideas about practice. They indicate how the artworld and contemporary art in China is changing.

Who/what will you NOT find here?

Artists such as Ai Weiwei, Yue Minjun, Zhang Xiaogang or Wang Guangyi who are well represented in textbooks, journal articles, the popular press and museum/gallery web sites. They are referenced in the more general Chinese art pages but do not have a separate page for their work. The reason? You can easily look elsewhere to find research source material on those artists. The purpose of this blog is to open up a range of new and interesting artists for students to research and write about.

WHAT will you find here?

  • A separate page, accessed by a tab at the top of the home page, for each artist
  • Information about each artist's practice
  • Extracts of critical writing, feature articles and interviews about each artist
  • Links to other useful web sites and sources for further reading and research - these are listed within each artist's page
  • Links to video interviews or relevant Youtube clips
  • Images of the artists and their works - these are shown with their sources and should not be reproduced without permission
  • Questions for student response ranging from fairly simple comprehension questions to more challenging and thought-provoking questions and suggestions for extended responses or essays - teachers and students may work through each question or choose those most appropriate to them - or modify them
  • And a big 'what if' question to get you thinking at the end of each artist page
How will the site be kept up to date?
This blog will have new artists - and new questions or activities - added on a regular basis. 
So: watch this space!
You can add comments, suggestions or questions for the author.
Important: all images if reproduced (only for educational purposes) must be credited as they are here in this web site

Monday, January 29, 2018

Case Studies

Students and teachers:

Check out the Yang Yongliang Case Study Page - heaps of readings, focus questions, an essay question with marking guidelines, and lots of information about this wonderful artist!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Why learn about contemporary art in China?

Because it is so exciting, so new, so constantly changing and so important!

And because there is more to Chinese art than Ai Weiwei (interesting and important though he is)

Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong are recognised as three of the key art centres on the planet and their importance in the art market and the field of contemporary art continues to grow. Taipei continues to develop as a newer art centre and some of the most interesting artists practising in a range of disciplines are working in Taiwan.

This blog contains teaching/learning resources on contemporary artists practising in China right now. It includes painters, sculptors, photomedia artists and artists who work conceptually, in documenting performance works,multimedia, installation and a wide range of other expressive forms.

It includes some artists whose work is well known internationally, and for whom there is already a great wealth of research resources. It also includes artists who WILL be well known in the future, emerging artists whose work is developing in exciting directions.

It includes images of their work, interviews with the artists, extracts of critical writing and questions that can be adapted for Visual Arts students at different levels, and for different curruculum models.

It is searchable, and will grow over time as more interviews are conducted and more artists are added.

It includes links to other websites, including my blog and links to other useful resources in this field including galleries, publications, pinterest boards, video clips and blogs.

Newsflash: it now links to my main website

Click on the 'About' tab for more detailed information about ways to use the blog, and about other resources or teaching and learning ideas.

Click on the 'Art of Revolution' tab for some background information explaining where contemporary art in China came from and how it developed.

Each artist has a tab which will take you to their page. Each page could form the basis of a senior Visual Arts Case Study. Two or more artists could be compared to form comparitive art historical or critical essays.

The artists and their diverse practices will also provide sources of ideas and inspiration for student artworks and bodies of work.

Zhang Xiaogang, Big Family, oil on canvas, image source: Saatchi Gallery UK
The pages on artists Hu Qinwu, Liang Yuanwei, Lam Tung-pang, Carol Lee Mei-kuen. Shi Zhiying and Pu Jie originated with learning materials produced as a result of the NSW Premier's Kingold Chinese Creative Arts Travelling Scholarship in 2011.