Staging art and Chineseness is about the borders that are applied to Chinese contemporary art and the identification of artists by locations and exhibitions. Central to this inquiry is the paradoxical subject of Chineseness: the book asks what the term ‘Chinese art’ actually means in the era of globalization.
Exploring embodied and performative representations by artists from China and its diaspora, the book challenges the genealogical inscription of cultural objects in terms of the residency, homeland, or citizenship of the artist. It acknowledges the Orientalist assumptions and appropriations that Chineseness signifies, instead connecting artistic performances to the greater historical scope of ‘geographical consciousness’ envisioned by global expositions past and present. China’s shiyan meishu experimental art movement in the 1980s–90s has been the defining focus for ‘global art’ during the period in which art fairs, biennials, and triennials have come to prominence as the new globalized art institution. In contrast to this, the book recognizes the multiple contradictions and repetitions of history engendered by art, nationalism, and capital in the legacy of Althusserian/Maoist interpellations.
Updating the West/non-West categories in light of the global development of contemporary art, Staging art and Chineseness provides a new framework for researchers, teachers, and students of Chinese art, culture, and identity.