Issue 23:4 | December 2003 | The China Phenomenon
The China Phenomenon
Issue 23:4 | December 2003
Issue 14:1 | March 1994 | Art & the Feminist Project
Art & the Feminist Project
Issue 14:1 | March 1994


Two Faces of Contemporary Art in China
In these days of 'Theory', innovative curatorial practice calls for a certain empirical discipline; by revealing the arts subtle and yet detectable connections with the social world. Having established this position, Souchou looks at the controversial performance work of Chinese artist Zhang Huan; a practice which displays a confronting yet contemplative look at the relationship between people and society in a post-Mao and contemporary China. An ongoing process of losing oneself in order to understand the effects of cultural and material life, and to animate the desire for release.
The Cost of Creativity?
The fabric of the contemporary art scene in China comprises the densely woven strands of politics, economics and aesthetics specific to the immediate socio-cultural framework: a cloth that is today increasingly more sophisticated that the coarse serge of the past. A vibrant contemporary art scene which emerged in the early 1980's following years of rampant cultural destruction and rigid doctrinal control over its form and content. This article focuses on the economic viability of contemporary Chinese art, a movement that found its key members a part of the lower socio-economic class.
Backflow: Returned Chinese Artists
The decades since China's Great Proletarian Cultural revolution (1966-1976) have witnessed a tide of artists leaving China, and now returning, propelled in part by the desire to locate a healthy climate for art production. There was a time when western society provided a climate more conducive to creativity and these artists sought better living conditions and freedom of thought and expression. Now many of these artists fight a battle over the encroaching forces of materialism and globalisation and there is an increasing backflow of these artists returning to China in the light of new policies valuing creative output and generally higher living standards.
Chinese Art Sydney Style
After more than a decade since many of the Chinese artists who have the highest profiles here migrated to Australia, several of them are currently at a crossroads with respect to their careers and what their next steps will be. As is the case with Guan Wei and Ah Xian, two of the best-known mainland Chinese artists working in Sydney, there has been an invested interest in exposing their work to local and international audiences. Teo looks at some of the initiatives which have propelled these artists work both locally and internationally and the various approaches in bringing together aspects of Australian and Chinese life and culture.
Xiandai Shufa: Brushes With Modernism
As similar to the changes that came to be called 'modernism' in the West in the nineteenth century, the nature of changing artistic traditions in the East are as far-reaching and as significant in that they also prefigure a contestation of the tradition/modernity duality. This article looks specifically at the tradition of Chinese ink painting and calligraphy and the insistence by Chinese critics that evolution - if not revolution - in these forms is occurring. Moreso the concentration here lies with modern calligraphy (xiandai shufu) and the distinguishing of calligraphy from the generalised use of Chinese characters in contemporary art.
Broadening the Scope
The First Beijing Biennale, held in September of 2003 somewhat echoed the Venice Biennale in it's approach to expansive venues and activities. Although Chinese Officials are realising the importance of contemporary art and its role in promoting international activities in Beijing, it is the artists themselves who have managed to expand the scope of contemporary art events in the city. Furthermore the event hosted a series of forums and international conferences to promote dialogue between Chinese experts and their international counterparts.
Thinking About Guan Wei
With Traditional Chinese art education requiring students to master the painting styles of each historic period, it is not surpirising that Guan Wei's own style (having painted systematically from Impressionism to Postmodernism over ten years) has rendered his work appealing to Australian audiences. His works are cool in colour, surreal in style, quirky in wit. Wei's work displays a graphic sensibility and visual language similar to that of Leunig's cartoons and is successful for these exact reasons.
A Lens on Diversity
'To imagine a language is to imagine a form of life' - Ludwig Wittgenstein. So to it is that to read the works of contemporary Chinese photography is to read Chinese social life. During the middle of the 1990's photography was admitted to the canon of contemporary Chinese art and the Chinese economy started to reflect a 'glocal' trend through the merging with the global economy. As a result Chinese artists began experimenting with new media and dialogue between Chinese and international artists became more frequent. This article looks at the diversity and proliferation of contemporary Chinese photography and the shifting perceptions of Chinese society from an international perspective.
Wang Jianwei: Working on the Boundaries
New media in China is probably the most rapidly developing medium used by contemporary artists in that country. As an art form new media characterises a form of communication with an almost endless capacity to be manipulated, making it the perfect tool to express a new artistic confidence. The intent of this article is the concentration on the work of one artist Wang Jianwei, whose work typifies many of the issues being expressed nationally through contemporary art. His is a practice differentiated by the way he slides from media to media allowing the intent of the art to govern the form of expression.
The Decade of the Rise of Chinese Women Artists
Socio-economic conditions and traditional ethics encourage Chinese women to maintain the ideal of harmony between genders, whilst certainly pursuing and endorsing independence. The state of women's art in China is an increasingly pluralistic art establishment within which international feminist thought has been a great source of energy but where there exists a clear opposition to the 'we don't bite' attitude. This article examines the impact of western feminist thought on a group of Chinese women artists who studied in Europe and America and the new awareness of their own feminist identities that came as a result.
Alors, La Chine?
Alors, La Chine? was a major exhibition of contemporary Chinese art at the centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, from 25 June to 13 October 2003. An exhibition of this kind had been planned for several years and included several research visit to China by Pompidou curators. Eventually the French government intervened when it decided that such an exhibition should be part of a planned two-year series of Franco-Chinese exchanges. Clark examines some of the political and ethical issues which surfaced as a result of this major event being held.
Changchun, China: to Confront or Confirm
Scarlett pays homage to the opening of an International Sculpture Park at Changchun, northern China, which bosts 315 works by numerous international and local provincial Chinese artists. Scarlett looks at this event and examines how audiences react to both controversial and more accepted and confirmed art within a society.
Economic Downturn in Hong Kong Breathes New Life Into Culture

The situation today for creative, especially cultural, industries in Hong Kong is perhaps better than it has been for many years. Tsong-Zung looks at the effects of a dramatic economic downturn in Hong Kong as it is providing artists with two of the most defining conditions for creative work, leisure and space.

Sadomaschism, Art and the Lesbian Sexual revolution
Black leather, blood, piercing and tattooing, glamourised dominance and submission should be approached with political discernment and discrimination.
Art & the Feminist Project
Shedding Skins: Identity and 'Lesbian' Art Practice
What does it mean to present as a 'lesbian' artist? The very identity categories 'gay', 'lesbian', 'heterosexual' are extremely problematic. Now that 'I' am out, I find that I am in - inside a category that reduces rather than expands possibilities for me, not just as an artist, but as a person.
Art & the Feminist Project
The Horror of the Prose: Some Reflection on a Paper entitled The Horror of the Gaze
Some reflections on a paper entitled the Horror of the Gaze. Art criticism is, perhaps, an art form and not expected primarily to make sense. There is no consensus about what art is, but we do seem to share an urge to understand what critics say about it.
Art & the Feminist Project
Update: Projects of Women and Art
A survey of current issues, events and projects with respect to women's art from around Australia.
Art & the Feminist Project
HER-ESIES Ancient and Modern
"Women in art must look to the future as they have no past" said Mary Cecil Allen at an opening of the Melbourne Society of Women Painters and Sculptors in 1935. A critical examination of the current art practices of women in Australia.
Art & the Feminist Project
Someday, Somewhere - Women and Nation in International Art
However, feminist artists, curators and writers could collaborate in establishing alternative frameworks for international exhibitions that would render unthinkable the omission of female artists or the implicit erasure of gender as an interpretive key.
Art & the Feminist Project
The Art World: More Than a Foothold
Australian women artists still see grey skies when they look out of their studio windows. This study examines the experiences of women in the hierarchical Australian contemporary art scene.
Art & the Feminist Project
What Should We Do With The 'Women and Art' Elective?
Women's courses since the 1970s have become a familiar if marginalised component of most art school curricula, their initial aim being to compensate for the absence of women in the Art History and Theory syllabus and to encourage the development of feminist art practices.
Art & the Feminist Project
Nourishment for Tough Times: Bring A Plate Conference
Review Conference Bring a Plate: Feminist Cultural Studies Conference University of Melbourne 10-12 December 1993
Art & the Feminist Project
The Engagement of the Personal
How do we define ourselves? What are the choices for women these days?
Art & the Feminist Project
Image Bank: The Feminist Project
Presentation and artist statement by contemporary female art practitioners. Women looking as feminist, feminine, female, femme, feminal. Artists featured: Frances Joseph, Angela Stewart, Maryanne Coutts, Noela Hjorth, Jill Kempson, Maria Kuczynska, Rosslynd Piggott, Eugenia Raskopoulos, C. Moore Hardy, Alex Macfadyen, Janet Neilson, Deborah Paauwe, Virginia Barratt, Linda Dement, Susie Hansen, Janina Green, Joy Smith, Madeleine Winch, Kathie Muir, Libby Round, Pam Johnston, Merryn Eirth, Dee Jones, Di Barrett, Frances Phoenix and Ella Dreyfus.
Art & the Feminist Project
Knocking on the Inside: Heather Ellyard, Annette Bezor, Janette Moore and Anna Platten
Looks at the work of Heather Ellyard, Annette Bezor, Janette Moore, Anna Platten.
Art & the Feminist Project
The Changing Face of Australian Women
Women from non-English speaking backgrounds are adding another dimension to the picture of women in Australian art. Informed by other cultures and dealing with issues of ethnic difference, the images on these pages create a broader idea of what it is to be an Australian woman.
Art & the Feminist Project
Fatal Attractions: Women and Technology: Norma Wight, Edite Vidins and Lyndall Milani
Looks at the work of three Queensland artists working in different ways with computers.
Art & the Feminist Project
Trapped in Paradise - Some Women Artists in Tasmania
The artists were selected because their work embraces not only questions of gender, but also addresses the distinctive duality between the superficial look of things and the complex web of underlying meaning, desire, fear, experience, and memory that they have located and interpreted for us. Featured artists are Jane Eisemann, Jacqui Stockdale, K.T. Prescott, Helen Wright and Megan J Walch.
Art & the Feminist Project
A View from the Other Side - Five Women West Australian Artists
Looks at the art practice of 5 Western Australian women artists: Helen Taylor, Alison Rowley, Moira Doropoulos, Michelle Elliot and Linda Banazis.
Art & the Feminist Project
Bad Girls: Institute of Contemporary Art London
Review Bad Girls: Institute of Contemporary Art London 7 October - 5 December 1993. Using glamour, virginity and stardom to attract as wide an audience as possible to a show of supposedly anarchic women artists all hoping to confront notions of sexuality and gender was a smart, if questionable, move....
Art & the Feminist Project
Speaking the Ineffable: New Directions in Performance Art
Looks at Linda Sproul's 'Listen' and Barbara Campbell's 'Backwash'.
Art & the Feminist Project
Making (A) Difference: Suffrage Year Celebrations and the Visual Arts in New Zealand
Suffrage year celebrations and the visual arts in New Zealand.
Art & the Feminist Project
Re-orienting Feminism in Aotearoa
During the past 8 years or so there have been two distinctive strands of activity which women artists have pursued in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Both are concerned with questions of identity. Artists Fiona Pardington, Emily Karaka, Shona Davies, Christine Webster and Robyn Kahukiwa.
Art & the Feminist Project
Bush Women: Narrative Paintings from Outback Western Australia
Article written with Karen Dayman Works being produced by senior indigenous women artists around Western Australia use figurative elements as well as symbols to doucment their own histories during a period of unprecedented social and environmental upheaval.
Art & the Feminist Project
Filipina Migranteng Manggagawa: Feminism, Art and Advocacy in the Philippines
Overseas contract workers from the Philippines support their families and their country as whole through many lonely years of exile.
Art & the Feminist Project
Jillian Davey: Stories on Canvas
Jillian Davey works at the Ernabella Arts Centre on the Pitjantjatjara Lands of the north west of South Australia.
Art & the Feminist Project
The Price of Liberty
The Women's Art Register contains a public access slide library of 20,000 slides, 14,000 information folders representing (as at 1994) 2,400 Australian based women artists.
Art & the Feminist Project
Sight Lines
Book review: Sight Lines Women's art and Feminist Perspectives in Australia Sandy Kirby Craftsman House Sydney 1992 RRP $75
Art & the Feminist Project
Nola Farman: The Challenge Continues
Examination of the art practice of Nola Farman.
Art & the Feminist Project
Memorial to the Survivors
Discussion of the work of Aboriginal artist Hope Neill
Art & the Feminist Project
The Amazingness of Women to JUST DO IT
Rural Australia produces resolute women - astute, sensible, profound. This article examines the work of one of a woman from the south west of Western Australia - what influences and inspires her.
Art & the Feminist Project
Porn Shop Art Adventures
Written with Barbara Holloway Exhibition review Joe Blow: A very erotic art exhibition by Jo Ernst Adam and Eve Gallery Canberra December 1993
Art & the Feminist Project
Surviving the first 12 months: Swing Bridge Art Gallery Dunally
Art & the Feminist Project
Printmaking and Optimism
Exhibition review I'sland (I'l)n. Exhibition of prints Long Gallery, Salamanca Arts Centre, Hobart, Tasmania 23 December - 2 January 1994
Art & the Feminist Project
Far Beyond First Impressions
Order Australis Dick Bett Gallery, Hobart, Tasmania August 1993.
Art & the Feminist Project
A Woman's Story: Hunting Grounds
Fremantle Arts Centre, Western Australia 5 November - 10 December 1993
Art & the Feminist Project
Modest Perfection
Bunbury Regional Galleries November 1993
Art & the Feminist Project
Revelations of a decade
Tangerine Dreams: a matter of Western Australian Style 1970 - 1980 Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery University of Western Australia
Art & the Feminist Project
Memories of a Nebula
Fountain installation by Derek Kreckler Experimental Art Foundation Adelaide South Australia 2-24 December 1993 and 11-23 January 1994
Art & the Feminist Project
Different Dreaming
Lap : an installation view. Keitha Phelps Five Different Homes. Louise Haselton Contemporary Art Centre 19 November- 12 December 1993
Art & the Feminist Project
More Light (Goethe's last words)
Craig Andrae Miscellaneous Remarks Contemporary Art Centre Adelaide, South Australia 3 September - 3 October 1993
Art & the Feminist Project
Reaffirming Identity
Fab art: Works by Kerry Giles (Kurwingie) Gallerie Australis Adelaide South Australia 23 November - December 1993
Art & the Feminist Project
En-Gendering Resistance: Opening Moves with Game Girl
All New Gen Game Girl by VNS Matrix (Josephine Starrs, Francesca Da Rimini, Julianne Pierce, Virginia Barratt), Experimental Art Foundation Adelaide South Australia 21 October - 21 November 1993
Art & the Feminist Project
Nigel Helyer: Gone to Earth
Boutwell Draper Gallery, Sydney 10 September - 4 October 2003
Keith Murdoch Gallery State Library of Victoria 6 June - 24 August 2003
Ruth Johnstone, Glen Walls, Lisa Young and John Walker
Modelling Space RMIT Project Space & Space Room, Melbourne 30 June - 18 July 2003
Story Place: Indigenous Art of Cape York and the Rainforest
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane 26 July - 9 November 2003
Paul Hoban
4MAL Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide 25 June - 27 July 2003
The Sea
Photographic Works by Simon Cuthbert Despard Gallery, Hobart Tasmania 19 September - 8 October 2003
The Barcelona Studio: Fragments of a Brief History
Plimsoll Gallery, University of Tasmania 5 September - 5 October 2003
Robyn Stacey
The Collector's Nature Stills Gallery, Sydney 10 September - 11 October 2003
India Flint, Stephanie Radok, Honor Freeman and Sarah CrowEST, Roy Amanda, Andrew Best and Matthew Bradley
Built! An ephemeral public art project Adelaide Festival Centre 4 - 24 August 2003 I've Been Busy Adelaide Festival Centre 30 July - 6 September 2003
The 28th Annual Shell Fremantle Print Award
Fremantle Arts Centre 13 September - 19 October 2003
FLUX: Uncertain States: New Art from Western Australia
Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, WA 17 August - 15 October 2003