Ústav dějin umění Akademie věd ČR, v. v. i.

The Black White and Grey Books

We cordially invite you to the lecture from the cycle Collegium historiae artium, which will be given by Giorgio Strafella (Palacký University Olomouc) on the topic of The Black, White and Grey Books: Reception and Assimilation of Conceptual and Performance Art in Post-Mao Chinese Art.

The lecture will take place on Wednesday, March 13, 2024 at 4.30 pm in the Institute of Art History CAS, room 117, Husova 4, Prague 1.

The political thaw in China during the first two decades after Mao Zedong’s death in 1976 and the final rise to power of Deng Xiaoping in 1978–1979 saw artists and authors eagerly study and experiment with ideas from the West and from China’s past that had been off-limits during the previous decades. New access to art publications and the chance to travel and study abroad would bring new inspiration to a generation of young Chinese artists who had not forgotten the Maoist dictum, zaofan youli: to rebel is justified. This lecture will discuss the introduction in China of Conceptual Art and Performance Art during the post-Mao era. It will look in particular at three underground publications – the so-called Black, White and Grey Books, published respectively in 1994, 1995 and 1997 by a group of artists and curators that included Xu Bing, Ai Weiwei and Feng Boyi, among others. By reflecting on how these books disseminated new ideas and inspiration in the underground Chinese art world, this lecture will shed light on the transnational connections that shaped a key phase of contemporary Chinese art.

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