Each year, the Sydney Asian Art Series gathers leading international voices on critical issues in early, modern and contemporary Asian art.  In response to the cancellation of in-person events, the 2020 series has moved online. As we embrace this virtual format, the 2020 series aptly explores the intersections of art and visual technologies, in the context of Mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan and South Asia.

If the modern period has been described as that of the ‘mechanical’ or reproducible image, the contemporary is marked by a visual fluidity that saturates our lives in images. When much of our work or play is mediated by haptic screens, can we learn something about the genesis of such media from artistic cultures across Asia, then and now? How have image technologies been fashioned in the visual arts of Asia? With this theme we seek to encourage thinking about the ways in which technologies became visual media, and visual media were also forms of technology. As the production and conception of visual technologies shifted to Asia throughout the twentieth century, it is now important to reflect on how artists in this region used and shaped such technologies, in ways both resonant and distinct from their global peers, in moving images from contemporary Hong Kong to a photographic archive in South Asia; in the ink paintings of a 1960s Chinese coal mine; and right back to Japanese copperplate reproductions of art in 1880s Shanghai.

-Dr Olivier Krischer, Sydney Asian Art Series Convenor, 2019-present.


Series Events and Recordings

Roundtable | Revisioning the Present
Raahab Allana (Alkazi Foundation of the Arts, New Delhi) with:

  • Diwas Raja KC (based in Kathmandu, Nepal)
  • Ruhanie Perera (based in Colombo, Sri Lanka)
  • Indu Antony (based in Bangalore, India)

Tuesday, 26 November 2020, 4pm-5:15pm

Watch online



Yung Ma | Reimagining and Conserving the Disappearance of Hong Kong through Moving Image
Artistic Director, Seoul Mediacity Bieannale 2021
Monday, 23 November, 7pm-8pm



Yu-chih Lai | Mediating Tradition: Japanese Copperplate Printing and Art Reproduction in 1880s Shanghai
Associate Researcher, Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica, Taiwan
Tuesday, 10 November, 1pm-2:15pm

Watch online



Rahaab Allana
Changing Image Practices in South Asia
Curator and Publisher, Alkazi Foundation for the Arts in New Delhi
Thursday, 15 October 2020, 4pm-5pm

Watch online



Lisa Claypool 
The Technological Sublime: An Ink Painter and a Coal Mine in 1960s China
Associate Professor, History of Art, Design, and Visual Culture, University of Alberta
Thursday, 17 September 2020, 10am-11am

Watch online



Zhao Liang (dir.)
Behemoth (2015)
Introduced by Lisa Claypool
Wednesday, 16 September 2020, 6pm-7:45pm

Series Convenor

The Sydney Asian Art Series has been convened since 2019 by Dr Olivier Krischer.

Olivier is an art historian, editor, and curator, and is currently the Acting Director of the China Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. His research focuses on the role of art theory and practice in modern and contemporary China-Japan relations, and more recently networks of artistic activism from Hong Kong and across East Asia. He is the co-editor of Asia through Art and Anthropology (Bloomsbury, 2013), and ‘Asian Art Research in Australia and New Zealand: Past, Present and Future’, a special issue of Australia & New Zealand Journal of Art (Taylor & Francis, 2016), and between 2011-2012 he was based in Hong Kong as managing editor of ArtAsiaPacific.

Since completing his PhD at the University of Tsukuba, Japan, Olivier has been a visiting fellow in the Institute for Modern History, at Academia Sinica, Taiwan, a post-doctoral fellow at the Australian Centre on China in the World at the Australian National University (ANU), and assistant professor in art history at the University of Tsukuba. In Australia, Olivier has held positions at the University of Sydney, University of Technology Sydney, and ANU.

In addition to his research and writing, at the Australian National University Olivier was the manager and curator of the CIW Gallery, where he curated exhibitions including “China and ANU: Scholars, Diplomats and Adventures” and “Zhang Peili: from Painting to Video” (co-curated with Kim Machan, Media Art Asia Pacific). He also established and co-programmed the Centre’s “Asia & Pacific Screens” film series (2013–2016), and was a board member and co-curator of the 2016 Canberra International Film Festival.

Series Sponsors

The series is co-presented by the University of Sydney’s China Studies Centre, The Power Institute, and VisAsia, with support from the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Originating in and celebrating the very latest and best scholarship in Asian art from around the world, this initiative complements the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ innovative exhibition program in Asian art, and the University of Sydney’s region-leading programs in the arts and cultures of Asia.


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Past Series

The 2019 theme was “Art and Urban Cultures”.

Click here to explore the series.

The 2018 theme was “Uncertain Objects: Trajectories of Asian Art”.

Click here to explore the series.