The Chinese economy has been growning on a fast pace since. Even as growth has started to slow down last year, China remains the second largest economy in the world.
Chinese artists, based in China or abroad, are getting more attention than ever. Does this help China to sell us a picture of what being Chinese means today?
In the Chinese language, the world copying does not exists. Hence, explaining that what the Western world understands as copying does not necessary need to have the same meaning to the Chinese. One could see it this way: We are importing technology, adding productivity to it, and sell a new product.
This phenomenon has been seen in way how some of the Chinese economy works. How does it work in the arts world?
London, the financial centre in Europe, has recently been showing Chinese contemporary art. This should give the rest of the world a better understanding of what can be considered as being Chinese. But, due to globalization many Chinese artists have left the country. They are still producing art, but have tried to free their minds from the political and social norms with which they were coined.
Some London galleries, such as the HUA Gallery, the Hai Gallery and the Hayward Gallery, are exhibiting works of Chinese artists who are living in Europe and China. They are expanding on our cultural understanding of what being Chinese means.
However, Ai WeiWei, the Chinese revolutionary artist, wrote in the Guardian: “The Chinese art world does not exist. In a society that restricts individual freedoms and violates human rights, anything that calls itself creative or independent is a pretence. It is impossible for a totalitarian society to create anything with passion and imagination.”
So, can we consider that what is presented to us on a Chinese blue and white porcelain plate as Chinese? Which sources can be trusted if we want to find more out about it? Is China’s reputation to change by showing off art make by Chinese artists place in China and elsewhere?