Re-interpreting modern Chinese art: an analysis of three women artists in twentieth-century China (Pan Yuliang, Nie Ou and Yin Xiuzhen)

Teo, Hwee Leng (2009). Re-interpreting modern Chinese art: an analysis of three women artists in twentieth-century China (Pan Yuliang, Nie Ou and Yin Xiuzhen) PhD Thesis, School of English, Media Studies and Art History, The University of Queensland.

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Author Teo, Hwee Leng
Thesis Title Re-interpreting modern Chinese art: an analysis of three women artists in twentieth-century China (Pan Yuliang, Nie Ou and Yin Xiuzhen)
School, Centre or Institute School of English, Media Studies and Art History
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2009-08
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Rex Butler
Fiona Nicoll
Total pages 289
Total colour pages 65
Total black and white pages 224
Subjects 19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing
Abstract/Summary There have been only sporadic attempts to highlight Chinese women’s role and influence in art, even though their contribution has been major. This thesis seeks to understand the significance of women’s participation in modern Chinese art history through the narratives and works of Pan Yuliang, Nie Ou and Yin Xiuzhen, who were professionally active at different political stages of twentieth-century China. Using an interdisciplinary framework, drawing on concepts from theories such as modernism, feminism and postcolonialism, this thesis analyzes a culturally specific field in art history and the interrelationship between various factors that have contributed to it. As artists of a peripheral culture, various factors in the artistic production of Chinese women have been overlooked and often misinterpreted. This thesis argues that the three artists in this study have produced different, individualized responses to the Euro-American model of modernism. To highlight the cultural specificity of China, the introductory chapter will include a short comparative analysis between Chinese modernism and the modernisms of other Asian countries. The adoption of Western art forms by early overseas-trained Chinese artists such as Pan indicates as many intricacies and ambivalences as in the complex relationship of China with Western imperialism. Chapter Two situates the Westernized works of Pan in the context of Chinese modernism, pre-feminism and the semi-colonized state of early twentieth-century China. In relation to the theories of orientalism and provincialism, implications of the ambiguities of Pan’s representations are extended to debates that explore the subjectivity and identity of non-European artists in their quest for modernism. Nie Ou was born into the era when the Chinese Communists had just taken over in 1949. Under the autocratic rule of the Communists, Nie was exiled to the northern countryside during her early adulthood as part of the “re-educating the elite” program. Chapter Three demonstrates how Nie successfully emerged from the repercussions of the Cultural Revolution. During this period of intensified Chinese nationalism, Nie found ways to merge the influences of the restrictive style of Socialist Realism and the poetic Chinese literati painting tradition to create an individualized style of representation. China underwent rapid modernization in the 1980s and 1990s. Chapter Four examines the works of contemporary artist Yin Xiuzhen who, with her avant-garde installations, has pushed the boundaries of what constitutes conventional Chinese art. This chapter analyzes Yin’s works in the context of late twentieth-century China, where the nation was no longer a Socialist monolith but a complex amalgam in which old and new, Socialist and capitalist, modern and postmodern co-existed. Yin’s works will be studied in relation to theories of postmodernism, postfeminism and globalism. Chapter Five consolidates the earlier chapters by reflecting on how various conditions throughout the twentieth century have changed and shaped the role of women in Chinese art history. The concluding chapter will consider the influence Chinese women artists may have on the art discourse in China today, and perhaps across other cultures. This chapter will explore the constraints upon them and the potential of their future role, not only in China but also in the broader sense of what it means to be an artist internationally.
Keyword Chinese culture
Chinese women artists

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Created: Thu, 22 Apr 2010, 19:11:10 EST by Ms Hwee Leng Teo on behalf of Library - Information Access Service