image of a film still.

Screening, Talk

From Jean-Paul Sartre to Teresa Teng: Contemporary Chinese Art in the 1980s

May 25, 2010
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Emily Carr University of Art & Design

1399 Johnston Street,
South Building Lecture Hall Rm301
Vancouver, Canada

Image of the event poster.

The 1980s was a seminal period in the history of contemporary art in China. However, the contribution and experimentalism of the art scene in South China, particularly in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, have generally been overlooked. But due in part to the proximity of Hong Kong, western ideas from translated books and articles as well as popular culture in the form of TV shows and Canto pop, flooded over the border to Guangdong at the end of the Cultural Revolution. This influx of new ideas and popular culture sparked great excitement, debate and experimentation in the arts.

Based on primary research, rare film footage and personal interviews with key artists, this documentary bears witness not only to the reading fever that gripped the Chinese art world in the 1980s. It also highlights the experimentalism and verve of artists and critics in South China whose contributions to the development of contemporary art have been long lasting and deep.

Film Interviewees:

Chen Shaoxiong陈劭雄, Chen Tong陈侗, Deng Jianjin 邓箭今, Feng Yuan 冯原, Hou Hanru 侯瀚如, Huang Xiaopeng黄小鹏, Li Zhengtian 李正天, Lin Yilin 林一林, Shao Hong 邵宏, Wang Du王度, Wang Huangsheng 王璜生, Xu Tan徐坦, Yang Jiechang杨诘苍, Yang Xiaoyan杨小彦


Jane Debevoise is an independent advisor and art historian, based in Hong Kong and New York. Prior to moving to Hong Kong in 2002, Ms. DeBevoise was Deputy Director of the Guggenheim Museum, responsible for museum operations and exhibitions globally. She joined the Museum in 1996 as Project Director of China: 5000 Years, a blockbuster exhibition of traditional and modern Chinese art that was presented in 1998 at the Guggenheim museums in New York and Bilbao. Prior to 1996, Ms. DeBevoise was Managing Director at Bankers Trust Company where she worked for 14 years in New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo and London. Ms. DeBevoise has a BA degree from Tufts University, an MA degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a PhD from The University of Hong Kong. Ms. DeBevoise was appointed by the Home Affairs Bureau of the Hong Kong Government to the Committee for Museums 2004-2007 and to the Museums Advisory Group for the development of the West Kowloon Cultural District 2006 – 2007. She is Chair of the Board of Directors of Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong, and a Trustee of Asian Cultural Council and The China Institute in New York.

Lin Yilin is an artist who lives and works in New York and Beijing. He was born in Guangzhou, China and studied at the Sculpture Department, Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts from 1983 to 1987. He was a co-founder of “Big-Tail-Elephant Group” in 1990. His recent solo exhibitions include Big Family: Brothers, Not Comrades (Arrow Factory, Beijing, 2009); Target, (Tang Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2008); A Spatio-temporal Tunnel, (Shanghai Gallery of Art, Shanghai, 2008) and Zero Interface: Brave New World, (Vitamin Creative Space, Guangzhou, 2007). His works were also included in the 10th Biennale de Lyon, (Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art, Lyon, France, 2009); Documenta 12, (Kassel, Germany,2007); the 50th Venice Biennale, (Venice, Italy, 2003); Big Tail Elephant, (Kunsthalle, Bern, Switzerland, 1998); Cities on the Move, (Vereinigung bildender Kunstler Wiener Secession, Austria, 1997); China Avant-Garde, (Haus der Kulture der Welt, Berlin, Germany, 1993) and the Exhibition of Big Tail Elephant Group, (Guangzhou No.1 Worker’s Palace, Guangzhou, China, 1991).

About the Moderator:

Keith Wallace has been a curator of contemporary art since 1979. From 1991 to 2001 he was Curator, then Director/Curator, of the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, where he developed a program of regional, national, and international exhibitions. He is currently an independent curator and has organized exhibitions for the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; The Power Plant, Toronto; Centre A, Vancouver; and the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, University of British Columbia. In 2004 he organized InFest: International Artist Run Culture, which brought together two hundred and fifty artists and administrators from twenty five countries. Since 2004, Wallace has been Editor of Yishu.

About Yishu:

Yishu has been a leading journal in the coverage of contemporary Chinese art and culture since 2002. Each bi-monthly issue presents scholarly and topical essays by the most knowledgeable writers in the field of Chinese art. Cultural commentary, featured artists, interviews, conference proceedings, and exhibition reviews provide a stimulating forum for dialogue and debate around the most important issues affecting contemporary Chinese culture and its position in the world today.