Contemporary Asian art has had a remarkable impact on global art practice, and simultaneously has produced an enduring record of the history of that region from the moment of decolonisation to the present. Many artists in the region have a deep concern about what it means to be human and to contribute to the development of a better future for their communities as well as having a sustained commitment to making art. This book, written at the start of the ‘Asian century’, focuses on the contexts and conditions which have helped to shape both art practice, and postcolonial society, in the region. Using case studies of selected artists, it discusses their work in relation to issues of human rights, social and environmental wellbeing, and creativity and is one of the first surveys of these issues in contemporary Asian art. It is an important contribution to studies of contemporary Asian art and art history.
This short chapter draws together the threads of the book to this point and, referring to the recent work of a number of contemporary Asian artists, discusses the turn, since the late 1990s, toward community building and ecological activism. It expands the concept of human rights from legal and cultural principles to the principle of environmental safety and well being through protection of the planet. It describes, in short, the art of people who have become citizens of their own nations, and of the world, and who, with their citizenship, have accepted civic responsibility.
what happens is the proliferation of ideas, signification, visions and practices that provide artists with new pressures and tensions, but also new
ways of making work.
The remarkable success of contemporaryAsianartists in negotiating
these complex relationships between local and global, and in attracting the
attention of both local and global audiences may, we suggest, be attributed
to the qualities of the works themselves. Though in the nineteenth and
Frameworks and contexts
early twentieth centuries the west had tended to view Asian art merely as
Guo-Qiang contributed to Japanese designer Issey Miyake’s fall 1999 collection; Yang Fudong directed First Spring, a short film for Italian company
Miuccia Prada’s 2010 menswear line; and Shanghai’s Rockbund Art Museum,
in cooperation with German fashion house Hugo Boss, launched an award for
contemporaryAsianartists.6 It is important to recognize issues of cooptation
in relation to these collaborations, especially as fashion corporations tend to
exploit art trends and exoticize non-Western cultures.7 Indeed, this chapter
discusses how Shanghai Tang and French