Assistant Professor of Art History and Asian Studies, Bowdoin College
Animating Time in Contemporary Chinese Art
This talk examines the status of history in Qiu Anxiong’s (b. 1972) video animations. As subject matter, material reference, temporal scope, personal memory, and strategy of perception, history serves as a critical touchstone for accessing Qiu’s works. By analyzing how the artist’s historical consciousness registers his insistence on alternative perspectives, this talk seeks to complicate the common contemporary Chinese art trope of using the “past in the present.” From national histories in Minguo Landscape (2007) and Temptation of the Land (2009) to embedded memories within New Book of Mountains and Seas (2006–), Qiu’s works reveal a key shift in how post-2000 artists are treating time and space. Through his works, I also demonstrate the significance of considering historical excavation as both artistic strategy and art historical methodology in contemporary Chinese art.
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