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One world, one dream: contemporary Chinese art and spectacle

Teo, W.W.-H.; (2011) One world, one dream: contemporary Chinese art and spectacle. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

The central research question of this thesis is to ask: what is the relationship between Chinese contemporary art and spectacle? I argue that the relationship is uncertain and ambivalent, and mobilise the variegated term ‘spectacle’ in order to track the transformational logic at play in recent Chinese artistic production, consumption and reception. I regard the spectacular event of the first Olympic games held in the People’s Republic of China as a trope for the complex processes of national reconstruction, forms of social control and geopolitical influence set in train by China’s rapid economic advance. I look at the mixed messages and ideological contradictions of such a spectacular global event, and examine the role art plays in China’s 21st century cultural reconstruction. I suggest that since Deng Xiaoping’s ‘open door’ economic reforms in 1978, Chinese art has operated within what I define as a spectacular framework, which subtends to how these artists recursively (re)imagine their own histories; reflect or reject the ambivalent legacy of totalitarian aesthetics; and also, confront and/or comply with the commercialisation, institutionalisation and indeed spectacularisation of their work as ‘imagineered’ by fantasies, projections and longstanding anxieties of China. Through an interdisciplinary and broadly deconstructive approach, this thesis explores the multifaceted dimensions of spectacle as a cross-cultural interface that reveals much of the geopolitical imaginary beneath the façade of ‘One World, One Dream.’

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:One world, one dream: contemporary Chinese art and spectacle
Language:English
Additional information:Permission for digitisation not received
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > History of Art

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