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The picture behind the picture - situation of art in china

Eine Gruppe von Diskutierenden auf dem Podium

Persons from left to right.: Tilman Spengler, Divide Quadrio, Qiu Zhijie

source: Johannes Bock

Davide Quadrio

source: Johannes Bock

The president of the Berlin University of the Arts, Professor Martin Rennert, Tilman Spengler, Davide Quadrio, Qiu Zhijie. Moderation: Andreas Schmid and Bignia Wehrli

source: Johannes Bock
chinesischer Panel-Teilnehmer

Qiu Zhijie

source: Johannes Bock

In 2013, the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK Berlin) invited a number of artists, creatives and intellectuals from the People’s Republic of China to participate in a project entitled “Hidden Images – On the Situation of Art in China”. In cooperation with Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt, UdK Berlin launched a one-year series of talks devoted to contemporary art in China, which presented the many different aspects of the turbulent art scene in this enormous country and placed them into a social context.

In podium discussions, lectures and artists’ workshops the invited guests engaged in dialogues with international experts, providing insights into the rapid developments that have taken place in China’s most recent art history and enabling intensive encounters with Chinese art. The discussions explored various strategies from the political to the poetic. They raised questions about the social role of the artists as well as the artistic visions that currently move China. What are the driving forces in Chinese art? What new horizons and modes of thought does this dialogue open up to us?

By exchanging views on Chinese art, we gained a perspective from both inside and outside, here and there, gradually revealing an unfamiliar picture that can assume many forms – the picture behind the picture: hidden images, in other words. The central concern of the series was not to stimulate discussion “about” China, but to create a point of contact – an interface in which reflections from and about China could lead into a more general dialogue about issues affecting artistic and cultural creativity. The thirteen events and four artists’ workshops brought together speakers not only from unfamiliar cultural contexts but also from different disciplines. So each encounter between these different voices presented a risk of misunderstanding, making for a unique event that could be planned in advance only up to a point. Yet it was precisely out of this clash of foreign cultures that questions, dissonances and resonances emerged whose impact continue to be felt and which have provided much f ood for further thought.

Please click here (PDF:6.3MB) to read the bilingual documentary "Hidden images - On the Situation of Art in China".