Voon Pow Bartlett

Completed PhD - The relational and quotidian in contemporary urban China


Voon Pow Bartlett

CWIB - Chinese Woman In Beijing, 2007

Courtesy and © the atist

My research addresses the work of contemporary Chinese artists based in Beijing, whose work is both formed in negotiation with a global audience and influenced by a historically and culturally specific form of urban development. The tide of economic progress in China has a direct impact on daily life and continues to fuel the art world, raising issues of authenticity, authority and ownership.

My own engagement with China is as part of its diaspora and my approach is practice-based. My theoretical research has a specific concern with the interaction between modernity and the everyday, and I therefore discuss both Lefebvre’s understanding of everyday life, Bourriaud’s concept of the relational in the context of guanxi (social relationships). I also consider the specific importance of spectacle to the work of Chinese contemporary artists, examining pertinent parallels between the communist ideal of mass identification that is a part of Mao’s legacy, and the mass experience of Modernity as discussed by Guy Debord. My own research is also considered in relation to an emerging and increasingly self-aware field of new ‘sinologists’, or scholars of Chinese Contemporary Art.

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