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Arts and resistance in China – Contemporary Art and Literature as Political Commentary

Angelika Burgsteiner
University of Vienna
Angelika Burgsteiner
University of Vienna
Open Panel

Abstract

In taking the opportunity of my lectorship in central China I plan to do empirical research for a later on PhD. Based on the fact that indirect and subtle forms of art and literature are a traditional tool of criticism in China I will take a glance at modern forms of doing so and relate them to broader changes and/or constants in Chinese culture. As Ai Weiwei mentioned once, today being an artist is no longer so much about producing something but more of a mindset. Which means that many artists absent themselves from their actual artistic work and switch to the production of political statements, as Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo did for example or as his biographer Bei Ling is doing. Taking into account the potential difficulties in doing field work in China, yet I don´t want to limit myself and resist having too narrow a focus. Because of my previous research experience and contacts there will be examples of literature and independent film production for sure. I´m also very interested in street art and ordinary peoples´ artful expression of dissent, which also emerges as a response to social or political issues. I´m confident of being able to present a wide range of samples in August and hope you will also accept literature in this panel.