Please join us on Wednesday, May 3, from 4:45-6:45 pm CT at CWAC 152 for the fifth VMPEA Workshop this Spring, featuring:
Assistant Professor, Department of History of Art and Architecture, DePaul University
Who will be presenting:
“A Left-Turn to Artistic Eccentricity: Gao Fenghan (1683–1749) and Disability Art in Eighteenth-century Yangzhou”
Wednesday, May 3, 2023
4:45-6:45 pm CT
*Please use this link if you plan to join virtually. No registration is required. Password: “left.”
Gao Fenghan and Li Tianbiao, the first leaf of the Album of Painting and Calligraphy in Collaboration with Li Tianbiao, 1737. Album leaves mounted as a handscroll, ink on paper. Each leaf 31.5 × 35.4 cm. Chien-lu Collection.
This talk focuses on Gao Fenghan (1683–1749) and the development of his disability art and aesthetics in premodern China. Scholars have categorized Gao as one of the Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou, a group of artists who were active in southern China during the early Qing Dynasty (1644–1911) and gained renown for rejecting the Beijing court’s orthodox painting style in favor of their own aesthetic choices. Among these artists, Gao earned fame because of his left-handed style, which he developed after the paralysis of his right hand. I argue that this disability enabled him to move beyond his early practice in the dominant literati style and generate his own artistic idiosyncrasy, which was popular in the Yangzhou art market that favored nontraditional art. While scholarly discussion of disability in art history has focused on the evolution of modern aesthetics in Euro-American art, my project focuses on disability art in premodern China, not only challenging the dating of disability art studies but also expanding its geographical scope. More specifically, my research offers a new understanding of disability aesthetics rooted in Chinese culture, history, and philosophy.
Yun-chen Lu (Ph.D., UCSB) is an Assistant Professor of History of Art and Architecture at DePaul University. She specializes in East Asian art history, particularly Chinese painting and calligraphy, material culture, literati culture, artists with disabilities, disability aesthetics, and East Asian interregional art history. She teaches courses on Asian art history, Chinese art history, and Buddhist art history. Her current research project investigates the relationship between artists with disabilities and the trend of artistic eccentricity in eighteenth-century Yangzhou, and the development of disability art and aesthetics in Chinese art.