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Subversive Strategies In Chinese Avant-Garde Art

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Chapter Summary

This chapter looks at the Chinese avant-garde as a series of subversions of the claims of certain beliefs to be true. The first subversion is of the presumption that a communist government with a capitalist economy can carve out a social space in which people can be themselves; the second, that the discourses in place in China are interpretable; and the third, that Western conceptions of art, supposing as they do a chasm between art and nature raw, can be adequate to China at the turn of the new century. Chinese avant-garde artists perform ritualistic erasures of systems of intelligibility like language and art. Part of what is distinctive about the work of the Chinese avant-garde is its subject matter and, most important, the attitude the artist takes toward it.

Keywords: Chinese avant-garde; Chinese avant-garde artists; communist government



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