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Haunted Cosmopolitanisms: Specters of Chinese Art in the Diaspora

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Chapter Summary

Maravillas examines a number of artists (Guan Wei, Ah Xian, Fan Dongwang, Shen Jaiwei and Guo Jian) who migrated from China to Australia in the late 1980s and early 1990s and shows how the work and identity of these artists may be situated in relation to a renewed cosmopolitan framework of understanding, one attuned to their transnational forms of imagining and living, as well as their particular local contexts of artmaking, exchange and appraisal. Particular attention is paid to how these artists alter and reconfigure the “Chineseness” of their originary “homeland” culture by creatively restaging it in the context of their new adopted “home.” In this way, “Chineseness” appears as a spectral entity that both haunts, and is haunted by, the work and identity of these diasporic Chinese artists. Their “cosmopolitan” experience of migration and diaspora can thus be viewed as one that is haunted by ghosts, while also producing forms of haunting that enact a politics and poetics of memory and translation.



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