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Chinese Contemporary Art: From De-Chineseness To Re-Chineseness

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Chapter Summary

From 1978 to 2008, Chinese contemporary art has evolved along the path from de-Chineseness to re-Chineseness; in other words, it has undergone a historical process from de-contextualization to re-contextualization. This is because Chinese art, with its revived self-consciousness, is now trying hard to return to its original context, which had long been disfranchised by the western artworld. This chapter talks about the four art periods starting from socialist realism to postmodern art. From a historical perspective, during 1978 to 2008 the development of Chinese art has been centered on Chineseness. The chapter discusses the origins of demonization. The demonization of Chinese art had its origins in the era of the cold war. The demonization represents an indirect shift from politics to art by way of commerce. Three cultural symbols are reflected in the works of Chinese artists today: traditional, political and commercial images.

Keywords: Chinese artists; Chinese contemporary art; Chinese symbolism; De-Chineseness; demonization; Re-Chineseness

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