TAASA Review Issues

March 2008

Vol: 17 Issue: 1
Contemporary East Asia
Editors: Natalie Seiz, Leong Chan & Josefa Green

Cover Image
No Lotus (2006) Choi Jeong-Hwa, Waterproof cloths, ventilator, motor controller, 140cm x 140cm  The artist view from ‘Through the looking glass’, at Asia house, London. Image courtesy of the author.

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Editorial

We are pleased to present the first 2008 issue of TAASA Review, devoted to contemporary East Asian art. While cognisant of the sociocultural and geo-political definitions of East Asia and the limitations of space, we have deliberately focused on selected art practices from China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan within the broader contexts of national, regional and global issues.

The papers presented are by no means a definitive overview of contemporary East Asian art, rather an attempt to draw out some of the concerns and relationships between the periphery and the centre in contemporary art which are informed and shaped by interactions between East Asia and Australia, Europe and North America, parallelled by cross-cultural ‘inter-Asia’ influences on mobile populations and lived experiences within greaterAsia. John Clark examines changing ideas in the use of the term ‘hybridity’ and the issue of motility for the artist in an international context, and his paper provides a conceptual space for the other authors in a dialogue that shifts our complacent ideas about the nature of contemporary Asia within a global community.

These ideas correspond with the paper by Jiyoon Lee, who charts the growth of contemporary Korean art from the early period of recognition primarily by curators in Asia, to its eventual development and exhibitions in regions not only outside Asia, but within Korea itself. In the same light, Tsutomu Mizusawa observes changes occurring in the exhibition and production of contemporary Japanese art, and in particular, collaboration between the artist and public volunteers in art projects, and site-specific works in various unconventional spaces outside the main centre of Tokyo. Natalie Seiz also considers changes in how contemporary art is produced and viewed in Taiwan by examining one artist, Wu Mali, and the process of art making in relation to local community and environment. Victoria Lu discusses a specific genre of contemporary Chinese art, “Animamix”, linking it to a younger generation of artists whose approach to producing art is informed by the aesthetics, narratives and technology of the digital age. Aaron Seeto evokes the question of how the construction of Asian identity in the multicultural context of Australian society may have evolved from an ugly past, and how that past in some places still festers.

Leong Chan reviews an exhibition of provocative works by Hong Kong artists ten years after the return of the former British colony to China, and ponders on socio-political issues associated with the use of textual and visual language in emphasising and preserving cultural identity. It has been ten years since an issue of the TAASA Review was devoted solely to contemporary Asian art, and during that time there have been significant socio-economic and political developments in the region, particularly with reforms and trends in China. In this issue we have attempted briefly to highlight the impact of some of these changes on contemporary East Asian art. In doing so, we acknowledge that the complexity of art in the region lies beyond what is displayed in the context of the mainstream museum or biennale.

East Asia is no longer that far away from us here in Australia, as today we are closer to it than ever before. We thank the writers for their generosity in their contributions to this issue. We look forward to an issue on contemporary Southeast Asian art in the future. Josefa Green, Editor – It is with much pleasure that I take up the reins as editor of TAASA Review, confident that I inherit a high calibre journal that provides a valuable service to our relatively small but very enthusiastic Asian arts community. My thanks to Sandra Forbes for her outstanding work as previous editor and for her assistance in the hand over. What better topic to kick off 2008 than contemporary East Asian art, a particularly vibrant area of the international art scene. Apart from the contributions from invited experts provided by guest editors Leong Chan and Natalie Seiz , the remaining articles in this Review cover some interesting contemporary art events in Australia, including a significant conference recently held in Melbourne: the 32nd Congress of the International Committee of the History of Art. It is an indication of the globalisation of the art world that this is the first time the Congress has met in the southern hemisphere.

The June issue of TAASA Review will be a general issue in which you will find a celebration of the life of Dee Court, whose recent unexpected death shocked us all. She was an enthusiastic and knowledgeable contributor to the Asian arts community, including as co-convenor of the TAASA NSW Textile Study Group. The group’s meeting on 12 March will be held in Dee’s honour – please see TAASA Members’ Diary for the details.

Table of contents

3 Editorial – Natalie Seiz, Leong Chan & Josefa Green

4 What does hybridity mean for Asian art today? – John Clark

7 Closed off fusion – Tsutomu Mizusawa 9 Beyond Korea post 1989 Korean contemporary art – Jiyoon Lee

12 The new century of neo-aesthetics in animamix art – Victoria Lu

14 Mapping Taiwan activism in the work of Wu Mali – Natalie Seiz

16 No chinese – Aaron Seeto

18 Exhibition review: Chinglish – Leong Chan

19 Unpicking the minature: Shahzia Sikander at the MCE – Jim Masselos

20 Conference report: Chia 2008 – Crossing cultures – 32nd Congress of the international committee of the history of art – Sabrina Snow and Sarena Abdullah

22 Exhibition: Floating worlds – Christopher Koller at RMIT – Susan Scollay

23 Contemporary art courses: Asia contemporary at the Soas – Melisa Morel

23 Contemporary art courses: Mad at AIT Tokyo – Junko Yoda

24 Recent TAASA activities

25 TAASA member’s diary 26 What’s on: March – May 2008

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