Online course: The Power of Tears and Fears: Sites and Communities of Contemporary Art in East and South-East Asia (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

Date of event:   03/07/2023 − 07/07/2023

Title: The Power of Tears and Fears: Sites and Communities of Contemporary Art in East and South-East Asia
Format: online (Summer School online)
Duration: 3-7 July 2023
Lecturer: Dr Katie Hill
Organized by: The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, UK

Course description
This course explores contemporary East- and South-East Asian art, focusing on developments in China, Hong-Kong, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore and Myanmar in relation to five key sites: international exhibitions, museums, public spaces, the city and locations of symbolic power and resistance.

A key question for debate is how contemporary artists respond to specific cultural, political and economic contexts, such as human rights, marginalised communities, urbanisation, industrialisation and gender politics. ‘The power of tears and fears’ gives reference to the power of emotionality in leading artists’ practices with reference to these sites or topics. Established and emerging artists will be discussed, including Angela Su, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Htein Lin, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Lee Bul, Lu Yang, Minouk Lim, Mit Jai Inn, Sin Wai Kin and Yin Xiuzhen, whose work ranges across installation, sculpture, performance, video and painting.

Grassroots art movements arising out of collective activity and the power of self-directed community are an important aspect of this art world, as are international biennales with specific curatorial themes that respond to wider cultural discourses we need to unravel. An example is the recent second Thailand Biennale entitled Butterflies Frolicking on the Mud, which addresses issues of ecology and sustainability as a central theme, and took place in sites including a university campus, heritage museum and Zoo. In China, works played out clandestinely on the Great Wall or on Tiananmen Square are examples of how sites of authority and history hold vital symbolic power in the collective imagination, connecting contemporary artistic practice with broader societal resonances.

Dr Katie Hill is Senior Lecturer and Academic Lead – Asia at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London, where she has led the MA in Modern and Contemporary Asian Art for the past six years. She is an established academic, curator and speaker with specialised knowledge in the field of contemporary art from The People’s Republic of China and the global Chinese diaspora. With an MA in Chinese Language and Literature from the University of Edinburgh and a DPhil from the University of Sussex, her research has explored the diasporic presence of Chinese artists in Europe, interrogating their practices and cultural significance within a global context since the 1990s. Her curatorial work in the field has incorporated a broad range of artistic practices, from conceptual and performance art, to the expanded field of contemporary ink painting and calligraphy. She is currently working on the catalogue essay for a major retrospective of the architect and ink painter Raymond Fung to be held at the Guangdong Museum of Art in Guangzhou and M+ Pavilion, Hong Kong. She directs a consultancy OCCA (Office of Contemporary Chinese Art) in Oxfordshire, which promotes and supports contemporary artists from the UK and China, producing exhibition projects, commissions and events in collaboration with galleries and organisations.

For more information, please visit the website here.