Contemporary Chinese Art

Post-socialist, Post-traditional, Post-colonial
Jeanne Boden, 2014, 2022

Introduction: Chinese art? Ethnic art? Western art? Global art? 

Chapter 1: Chinese art in East and West

China: Post-socialist 

China: Post-traditional 

China: Post-colonial  

Discourse, constructs, and limits of theory  

Non-Western art in the West 

The Venice Biennale in post-colonial times  

Chinese artists in Passage to the East in Venice 1993  

Selecting Chinese artists for the 1993 Venice Biennale 

Chapter 2: Chinese art going global  

The birth of contemporary Chinese art 

Main evolutions in contemporary Chinese art pre-1978 

Chinese art at the beginning of the 20th century

Socialist Realism – art as political tool: 1949–1978 

Underground art during the Cultural Revolution: No Name Group  

Main evolutions in contemporary Chinese art post-1978 

From Socialist Realism to a ‘point of no return’ in 1989 

Post-1989 evolutions 

The Passage to the East artists  

Chapter 3. Post-social: Chinese art from socialist to post-socialist  

Impact of political events on artists 

From Socialist Realism to the reality of post-socialism  

Opening up new artistic languages and methods  

The Mao Zedong legacy

Art and politics: An ongoing negotiation 

Top-down discourse past and present  

Bottom-up dynamics  

Art as part of the economy  

Chapter 4: Post-traditional: Chinese art between tradition and innovation

The spiritual dimension of art  

The Chinese language as a source of inspiration  

Calligraphy and ink painting tradition in contemporary art

China’s cultural past incorporated in contemporary art  

Chapter 5: Post-colonial: Chinese art between China and the West  

Discovering non-Chinese art and taking a position 

Exploring the local: One’s own Chinese background

Post-colonial: Reviving the local and taking a position 

 Curatorial practices in the West



1. Glossary of Chinese titles in pinyin and characters  

2. Glossary of Chinese names in pinyin and characters 

3. Glossary of Chinese terms in pinyin and characters 

4. Consulted bibliography