From the term “art” to the term “painting,” the study of Chinese Art in a Eurocentric art historical paradigm is marked by absences and unequivalents. This renders the historian’s task of reconstructing the facticity of the past fairly difficult. What do we imagine in our hopes of finding the perfect missing document, or the perfect missing voice? What kind of narrative must we construct in order to write the Chineseness of Chinese art history? Register for this lunchtime seminar; Tales, Fables, and Anecdotes: Narrating Anonymity in Chinese Art with Professor Winnie Wong
We often think of artists and artworks as having stable identities, yet the historical reality of art is far messier, and far more exciting, as objects, artists, and ideas moved across national and cultural boundaries, created between and from multiple cultures. This year’s Sydney Asian Art Series explores examples of such movement and multiplicity from across Asia and the world.
The Chinese painter known to Europeans as “Lam Qua” was one of the most well-documented artisans working in the port of Guangzhou in the early 19th century. While very little historical Chinese records have been found to clarify Lam Qua’s biography, he left a fascinating corpus of paintings—including both originals and copies—for us to examine. Professor Winnie Wong’s lecture challenges whether “he was an early exemplar of modern art in China, or a mere copyist of European pictures?” and considers how learning about Lam Qua’s stature might alter how we might see his work.