Chinoiserie and Contemporary Art

Posted in conferences (summary) by Editor on October 25, 2010

As noted by Emile de Bruijn at Treasure Hunt, the V&A recently hosted a symposium in connection with SINOPTICON, on ongoing project that considers the role of Chinoiserie in contemporary art. Among the slate of speakers for the day, Ben Schmidt (University of Washington) addressed “Exoticism and Chinoiserie circa 1700:  The Medium and the Message,” and Glenn Adamson (V&A Deputy Head Research and Head of Graduate Studies) spoke on “A Way of Seeing: The Optic of Chinoiserie.” The full symposium program is available here, and there are plans for regular updates at the SINOPTICON blog. As noted at the project’s website:

SINOPTICON is a long-term project investigating ideas and themes of a contemporary chinoiserie in contemporary art. The 18th-century term, ‘chinoiserie’, arose from the mania for Chinese artefacts that erupted in the seventeenth century transforming taste and aesthetics in the West forever. Now China is back, upsurging as a country of major economic and political impact – and with it a new wave of chinoiserie for the twenty-first century. SINOPTICON looks at chinoiserie afresh in the context of contemporary art and incorporates design, display, desire and frippery alongside politics and trade, authorship, interpretation and cultural misunderstanding, fantasy, escapism and fiction. SINOPTICON includes an extensive research and development phase, a symposium, residencies, new commissions and a national touring exhibition.

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