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Article

Yasuko Furuichi

Alternative spaces have stimulated and disrupted bureaucratic and static environments that stem from situations unique to Asian countries. As opposed to the definition provided in the Euro-American model in which alternative spaces are positioned against the mainstream, alternative spaces in this discussion are a group of contemporary art spaces which can be loosely identified as artist-run and independent curator-run spaces that do not have direct support from the state and government bodies in general. These spaces provide exhibition venues for national and international artists, develop educational programmes, raise the profile of curatorial methods and publish art magazines. In addition, the staff of alternative spaces can provide foreign curators with the latest local information, whereas in the past, certain curators were able to monopolize negotiations between arts professionals and local artists. Some of these alternative spaces have since attained privileged positions that have also exposed them to criticism.

Since 2000 these alternative spaces, many of which are artist-run, have founded non-profit organizations and transformed their activities and organizational structures. Because these spaces are financially dependent on grants from foreign cultural institutions or their national governments, they have difficulty securing long-term funds and management. While the flexibility and agility of these organizations risks their survival, the priority is in creating a space for young artists and curators to pursue experimental activities, rather than maintaining the status quo or becoming part of the establishment. The activities particular to alternative spaces are not necessarily a counter movement against mainstream arts activities; they may be more accurately described as a means of survival for new art....

Article

Alan Powers

(Irving Jeffrey)

(b Haiphong, French Indo-China [now Vietnam], Oct 16, 1900; d Rodmersham, Kent, Nov 8, 1979).

English illustrator and author. From 1905 he grew up in England, becoming a professional artist in 1926 after part-time study at the Westminster School of Art, London. He became known as an illustrator of genre scenes in a variety of media, often with a comic Victorian flavour. He was best known for illustrated stories, the first of which, Little Tim and the Brave Sea-captain (Oxford, 1936), was followed by numerous imaginative and popular children’s books and by many other illustrated books. Baggage to the Enemy (London, 1941) reflected his appointment in 1940 as an Official War Artist, recording the German invasion of France, and the North African and Italian campaigns. His freelance career continued after the war with a steady production of illustrative and ephemeral work in an instantly recognizable style that relied on ink line and delicate washes.

The Young Ardizzone: An Autobiographical Fragment (London, 1970) Diary of a War Artist...

Article

The concepts of internationalism and multiculturalism are fundamental factors in the emergence of Asian contemporary art. Multiculturalism and internationalism have been organizing principles for most international exhibitions since the 1990s, including the Venice Biennale and the São Paulo Biennial as well as the new exhibitions in Asia. Multiculturalism was adopted by nations such as Canada and Australia to promote cultural harmony amongst diverse immigrant groups. It is founded on the idea that all cultures have equal value. In the early 1990s the term gained popularity in the visual arts to describe the emergence of artists who belonged to different ethnic groups. Also the term acknowledges a time of increased mobility, when many artists hold multiple ethnic identities and have homes in multiple geographical locations.

This trend began with the magnificent exhibition, Magiciens de la Terre, held at the Centre Georges Pompidou and the Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris in ...

Article

East Asian, South Asian and South-east Asian women artists have made a unique contribution to contemporary art by incorporating culturally specific traditions drawn from sacred and secular aspects of art history and daily life—from altars to painting to domestic design—with traditional materials and new media such as video and digital imaging (see fig.). This artwork accesses the myriad of customs and languages that make up the region, with spirituality playing a larger role than in many other regions in the world. Artists often include elements in their work that display an identification with both Eastern and Western traditions and exhibit a balance between cultural differentiation and hybridity. Their explorations have often been aided by modern concepts of the female self, aided by feminist theory.

While some women work with narratives from the past, others negotiate new identities through the use of technologies such as iPods, camera videos and mini-TVs, which have taken particularly strong root in urban Asia. These polar references to the old and the new are often harnessed into a combined visual language that expresses modern life for women living in societies experiencing dramatic changes brought on by post-modernity. While gender and sexual identity have always been assumed important issues in women’s art, the blurring of boundaries in cultural roles has expanded possibilities for women artists even where general societal discrimination persists. The feminism that emerged in the USA and Europe in the 1970s has penetrated academic and artistic circles throughout Asia in an uneven pattern of influence. (The earliest generation of Western feminist art began with an exploration of the female body in relationship to societal norms.) Serious consideration, if not complete acceptance, of these new perspectives introduced Asian women to new conceptual and political frameworks, which were often overlaid onto such established images as female deities, ritual practices and strong role models from recent social history. In India and other post-colonial countries, women’s rights had been included in the paradigms of modern mid-20th century independence movements, laying the groundwork for regional interpretations of women’s experience....

Article

Asian modern and contemporary art is a discursive field because of its potential critique of existing art historical concepts, structures of knowledge and curatorial categories. It is not just the art of a discrete geographical zone, nor simply one which developed through a series of chronological successions. In the past Asia was assimilated under the term ‘Eastern’ as the antithesis of ‘Western’, which meant that ‘Asian’ never escaped being a projection of the ‘Western’. Thus the difficulty in understanding Asian modern and contemporary art is in reconstructing Asia as an intellectual concept, not as a naturalized reflection of Europe, nor as a set of Orientalist projections. The emergence of Asian modern and contemporary art has redefined modernity in Western art, and the need for such redefinition may account for the exclusion of Asian modern and contemporary art from serious consideration in the West until the 1990s.

Asian modern and contemporary art should not be seen as the product of positions adopted in the European and American metropolises by migrant artistic and intellectual communities. Art in many Asian cultures was potentially modern before the political and economic interpositions of 19th-century European and American colonialism. This art was also subject to the forces unleashed by the transfer of academic realism and later stylistic transformations (see Clark, ...

Article

Bazaar  

Mohammad Gharipour

Bazaar, which is rooted in Middle Persian wāzār and Armenian vačaṟ, has acquired three different meanings: the market as a whole, a market day, and the marketplace. The bazaar as a place is an assemblage of workshops and stores where various goods and services are offered.

Primitive forms of shops and trade centres existed in early civilizations in the Near East, such as Sialk, Tepe in Kashan, Çatal Hüyük, Jerico, and Susa. After the 4th millennium BC, the population grew and villages gradually joined together to shape new cities, resulting in trade even with the remote areas as well as the acceleration of the population in towns. The advancement of trade and accumulation of wealth necessitated the creation of trade centres. Trade, and consequently marketplaces, worked as the main driving force in connecting separate civilizations, while fostering a division of labour, the diffusion of technological innovations, methods of intercultural communication, political and economic management, and techniques of farming and industrial production....

Article

Susan Pares

[Pak Sŏ-bo]

(b1931).

Korean painter and teacher. He graduated in 1954 from the Fine Arts College, Hong’ik University, Seoul, and exhibited in Korea, East and South-east Asia, the USA, Europe and elsewhere. He is regarded as a leader of Korean modernism. Park has used a variety of techniques. Typical of his Art informel stage is Painting No. 1 (1957; oil on canvas, priv. col., see Young-na Kim, p. 177), where paint was splashed on to the canvas. In his ‘white’ paintings, thin layers of gesso were applied over a period of time, then graphite and gesso were applied alternately to build up a surface. In 1989 he began to use tak (mulberry bark paper), laid in three layers on canvas, sealed with gesso and overlaid with acrylic paint. Further sheets of paper, soaked in acrylic medium or Korean ink, were then laid, and the surface was manipulated with the fingers or an implement. In working or marking the surface Park’s intention was to help the medium to express itself by adding nothing more than a sign of his involvement, which he termed his ‘écriture’; one of his works is titled simply ...

Article

Since the late 1980s and early 1990s, work by artists born in Asia has become increasingly visible in the West. Economic growth first in Japan, then in Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South-east Asia, and most recently in China, focused the attention of Western observers, and caused a new generation of curators to shift their sights from classical culture to contemporary art. At the same time, globalism became a curatorial imperative and the seminal, yet controversial, exhibition, Magiciens de la Terre, organized by Jean-Hubert Martin in 1989 at the Centre Georges Pompidou and Grande Halle de la Villette, Paris, included a strong selection of work by contemporary artists from Japan, China and India (see Globalization and art). Called a courageous attempt to depart from the hegemonic and monocentric cultural perspectives of Western European and American institutions (B. Bulloch, A. America, May 1989, p. 151), this exhibition stimulated an intellectual debate that continues to resonate in the 21st century. Some of the complex issues that characterize this debate include the definition of marginality, cultural authenticity and hybridity, contemporaneity and the co-existence of traditional and modern, local and global realities, the role of political and social context and critique, and the impact of colonial and neo-colonial influences and attitudes....

Article

Gensler  

Sara Stevens

American architectural firm started by Arthur Gensler Drue Gensler, and Jim Follett in 1965 in San Francisco, CA. M. Arthur Gensler jr (b Brooklyn, New York, 1935) attended Cornell University to study architecture (BArch, 1957). The firm began doing build-outs for retail stores and corporate offices, and initially established itself in the unglamorous area of interior architecture. Thirty years later and without mergers or acquisitions, it had grown to become one of the largest architecture firms in the world, having pioneered the global consultancy firm specializing in coordinated rollouts of multi-site building programmes. By 2012 the firm had over 3000 employees in over 40 offices. From the beginning, Art Gensler conceived of a global firm with multiple offices serving corporate clients whose businesses were becoming more international. Instead of the ‘starchitect’ model of his contemporaries such as I. M. Pei or Paul Rudolph, Gensler wanted an ego-free office that existed to serve client needs, not pursue a designer’s aesthetic agenda at the client’s expense. By adopting new web-based computing technologies and integrated design software in the early 1990s, the firm stayed well connected across their many offices and were more able than their competitors to manage large multi-site projects. Expanding from the services a traditional architecture firm offers, the company pushed into new areas well suited to their information technology and interiors expertise, such as organizational design, project management, and strategic facilities planning....

Article

[emerging art markets]

Since the 1980s art markets have developed rapidly outside of Europe and the USA. In the so-called BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) this development has been particularly dynamic. With aggregate sales estimated at €11.5 billion, China is the second largest market for art and antiques in the world after the USA (McAndrew 2014). Works of art made by modern and contemporary artists from all four countries regularly fetch more than $1 million at auction.

The rise of the BRICs has coincided with the global integration of what used to be local art markets: demand for and supply of particular artists or artistic movements may now be dispersed across the globe. The boom which global art markets have witnessed in the new millennium can be attributed partially to new buyers from countries like China and Russia developing an interest in art, both old and new. In describing the emergence of the BRICs, the focus in this article will be on modern and contemporary art, since that is where market development has been most significant, both qualitatively and quantitatively....

Article

Milo Cleveland Beach

(b Bombay, 1902; d New York, 1971).

American dealer of Indian birth. Following the decline of the family textile business, his father, Munchersa Heeramaneck, became an antiquities dealer and shrewdly developed a speciality in Chinese ceramics. As a youth, Nasli was assigned to the New Delhi office, but in 1922 he was sent to Paris to study and open a branch. He soon moved to New York, which became the final location for Heeramaneck Galleries. In 1939 Heeramaneck married Alice Arvine, an American portrait painter from New Haven, and she became an active partner in the business. They were responsible for the acquisition of many great works of Indian, Tibetan and Nepali sculpture, Mughal and Rajput painting, Ancient Near Eastern and Islamic art, and Central Asian (including nomadic) art by major American museums. They also formed a comprehensive private collection of South Asian art, including superlative paintings and sculptures from the Himalayan regions, and a smaller collection of ancient Near Eastern and Islamic art, both purchased by the ...

Article

Van Lau  

Mayching Kao

[Wen Lou]

(b Xinhui County, Guangdong Province, Sept 15, 1933).

Chinese sculptor and printmaker, active in Hong Kong. Van moved with his family to Vietnam in 1935 and studied architecture and fine arts in Taiwan from 1953 to 1958; in 1960 he settled in Hong Kong. He became an influential figure in the local arts scene, not only assuming a leading role as a sculptor of the modern school, but also active in arts administration, publishing, design, education and politics. In the 1960s, inspired by contemporary international movements, Van experimented in different styles and media. He subsequently returned to his native tradition for imagery and aesthetic concepts, though retaining a Western approach in formal organization. Thereafter, his focus has been metal sculpture in geometric formations suggesting vitality and organic growth. His fascination with movement, particularly flight, inspired his Space Form (Hong Kong, Space Mus.), completed in 1980, followed by numerous public commissions.

Wen Lou/The Art of Van Lau (exh. cat., intro. ...

Article

Chinese, 20th century, male.

Born c. 1910, in Eng Choon (Hokkin); died 1995.

Painter.

Kah Yeow Lee, an artist well known in Southeast Asia, was born into an old family from Fujian province in China. His father was also an artist. He started his artistic training young, first at Beijing university, where he worked with Chen Hengke, Ho Lizhi, Chen Banding and Hu Beiheng, and then at the art college of Shanghai, where he learned Western painting techniques with Liu Haisu. He then settled in Malaysia as an art teacher, continuing his study of the ancient masters from the Tang dynasty (618-906) to the Qing (...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b Singapore, Feb 16, 1936; d London, Oct 23, 1997).

British sculptor and printmaker of Chinese birth. She grew up in Singapore and at the age of 18 decided to go to London to study at Saint Martin’s School of Art (1954–6) where she took a particular interest in wood-carving; she then transferred to the Slade School of Art, where she concentrated on printmaking, graduating in 1960. Whilst at college she often travelled through Asia and Europe en route back to Singapore, with Indian and South-East Asian sculpture and spirituality making a great impact on her work. An early sculpture, King, Queen, Pawn (1959; see 1999 exh. cat., pp. 12), consists of three simply shaped wooden blocks, with sections blowtorched to give a variation of colour. Whilst Lim always acknowledged a debt to the work of Constantin Brancusi in her simplification and abstraction of forms, it is in her concern for the specific qualties of materials, as in her use of charred wood to create contrast, that the influence of Eastern spirituality and concepts of balance can be seen. In ...

Article

Hasan-Uddin Khan

(b Hong Kong, July 19, 1932).

Singaporean architect, urban planner and writer. He studied at the Architectural Association School, London, graduating in 1955; he worked for the London County Council for a year and then was a Fulbright Fellow in the Department of City and Regional Planning at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (1956–7). After 1957 he worked exclusively in Singapore and Malaysia as partner in a number of practices, and as principal of Design Partnership (DP). Working in a modernist style, he concentrated on residential and commerical works within an urban or historic framework, with a particular interest in the improvement of the urban environment. He built several large-scale shopping complexes in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, the first being the People’s Park (1973; with Tay Kheng Soon), Singapore; this multi-level centre, with innovative atrium spaces and a mix of large and small shops, became a model for much subsequent commercial development in the city. Other important projects in Singapore included the Golden Mile Shopping Centre (...

Article

Reena Jana

(b Tokyo, Feb 10, 1968).

Vietnamese video artist of Japanese birth, active also in the USA. Nguyen-Hatsushiba was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and a Vietnamese father. He moved to the USA to study at the Art Institute of Chicago and then at the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore. His work concentrates on the issues of Vietnam’s national identity and history, particularly in the context of the Vietnam War (1955–75). A recurring theme is the experience of Vietnamese refugees, known as ‘boat people’, who were displaced by the war and sought to escape from their native Vietnam after the conflict ceased in hand-made boats.

To evoke Vietnam’s long coastline, as well as South-east Asia’s numerous river basins, Nguyen-Hatsushiba filmed his non-linear narratives underwater. His video productions are accompanied by dynamic soundtracks, often composed by Nguyen-Hatsushiba in conjunction with musicians, such as the Vietnamese pop star Quoc Bao. Nguyen-Hatsushiba is best known for his three-part series, ...

Article

Noémie Goldman and Kim Oosterlinck

Term for the return of lost or looted cultural objects to their country of origin, former owners, or their heirs. The loss of the object may happen in a variety of contexts (armed conflicts, war, colonialism, imperialism, or genocide), and the nature of the looted cultural objects may also vary, ranging from artworks, such as paintings and sculptures, to human remains, books, manuscripts, and religious artefacts. An essential part of the process of restitution is the seemingly unavoidable conflict around the transfer of the objects in question from the current to the former owners. Ownership disputes of this nature raise legal, ethical, and diplomatic issues. The heightened tensions in the process arise because the looting of cultural objects challenges, if not breaks down, relationships between peoples, territories, cultures, and heritages.

The history of plundering and art imperialism may be traced back to ancient times. Looting has been documented in many instances from the sack by the Romans of the Etruscan city of Veii in ...

Article

Susan Pares

[ Yun Myŏng-no ]

(b 1936).

Korean painter, printmaker and teacher . He graduated in 1960 from the College of Fine Arts, Seoul National University, and studied in 1969–70 in New York. He has exhibited in Korea, East, South and South-east Asia, North and South America, Western and Eastern Europe and New Zealand. Paintings in the Art informel style in the late 1950s–early 1960s were succeeded by his Ruler series of prints. Youn was an early experimenter in modern printmaking in Korea. His Cracks series, initiated in the mid-1970s, examined the effect of cracking on the surface of generally white pigment. In the Ollejit series of the 1980s drawing on childhood memories of simple objects, the surface is covered repeatedly with short, deliberate strokes. The After Ollejit and Anonymous Land series of paintings of the 1990s convey more violent feeling, expressed through strong brushstrokes, heavy colours and thickly applied paint. Youn works in acrylic, oil colour and oil stick, and in India ink on wood, cotton and canvas. He also produces lithographs and ceramic tiles....

Article

Ray McKenzie

(b Edinburgh, June 14, 1837; d London, Sept 30, 1921).

Scottish photographer and writer. After studying chemistry at Edinburgh University he settled on the island of Pinang, Malaysia, where he began practising as a professional photographer in 1862. Over the next 12 years he travelled extensively in the region, taking many photographs in Siam (now Thailand; see fig.), Cambodia, Vietnam and China. His subjects ranged from ethnography to antiquities, and his style is distinguished by the directness with which he represented landscapes and social practices that to his western contemporaries appeared almost fantastic. Despite acute difficulties of climate and terrain, he used the cumbersome wet collodion process, producing large-format (up to 360×480 mm) and stereographic negatives that are noted for their clarity of detail and richness of tone.

Unlike most travel photographers of his generation Thomson rarely exhibited his work, preferring the illustrated album as the medium best suited to his documentary approach. In all he produced nine such albums, varying widely both in format and reprographic process. The first, ...

Article

Transculturalism proposes an approach to contemporary Asian art practices that addresses the conditions defining the modern experience of Asian artists living and working outside of their home countries. It is a term derived from the word transculturation, which describes the process of adjustment and re-creation that arises from the convergence of different cultures. The term became popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a period defined by major social changes wrought by globalization, increased mobility and ethnic intermingling that affected local community networks in both home and host countries, and also an upsurge in interest paid to contemporary art in and out of Asian countries.

Cuban anthropologist and humanist Fernando Ortiz (1881–1969) developed the concept of transculturalism in the 1940s, when he coined the term transculturation in a pioneering description of Afro-Cuban culture (Contrapunto cubano del tabaco y el azúcar, 1947). Ortiz devised the term to counter the notion of acculturation introduced by the British anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski (...