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Chan, Pedith (2009) The making of a modern art world : The institutionalisation of Guohua in Shanghai, 1929-1937. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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Using guohua, the indigenous art form of China, as the point of entry, this thesis seeks to explore and interrogate the discourse both of guohua itself, and the wider discourse of Chinese modernism in the visual arts. It does this through examining newly adopted modem artistic practices of the Republican period, namely; art associations, journals, exhibitions, and the art market. Guohua, literally 'national painting', was a new term and new concept which has long been associated in the standard narrative of modern Chinese art history with tradition, backwardness, and conservatism. It is the aim of this thesis to correct the mistaken reading of guohua as essentially 'traditional', by closely analyzing primary source materials, mainly newspapers and magazines, published in the Republican period. Adopting the concept of 'artistic field' postulated by Pierre Bourdieu, this thesis will reconstruct the 'logic of the field' in the Shanghai art world of the Republican era. In the light of the sociological definition of 'art world', the thesis attempt to contextualize the visual arts through concentrating on the modes of production and consumption of painting in Shanghai. Focusing on the years 1929 to 1937, this research demonstrates how the young generation of guohua artists appropriated new practices and embraced new attitudes towards the artistic profession, and in doing so professionalized and institutionalized guohua. The chapters are thematically organized to deal with modem artistic practices from the art society to the art market, aiming to unpack the discursive practices of guohua, and to redefine and redefine the discourse of modern China and Chinese modernity.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:10

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