The Avant-Garde and the Popular in Modern China: Tian Han by Liang Luo

By Liang Luo

The Avant-Garde and the preferred in China examines avant-garde functionality as an immense political strength shaping pop culture in glossy China, targeting artist and activist Tian Han. this can be the 1st publication to research Han’s paintings and activism and to discover how a tremendous workforce of chinese language appearing artists invested in politics and the pursuit of the avant-garde got here to phrases with other ways of being “popular” in sleek times.

The ebook strains Han’s trajectory via key moments within the evolution of twentieth-century chinese language nationwide tradition, from the Christian socialist cosmopolitanism of post–WWI Tokyo to the city modernism of Shanghai in Twenties and Thirties, then into the chinese language hinterland in the course of the overdue Nineteen Thirties and 40s, and at last to the Communist Beijing of the Nineteen Fifties, revealing the dynamic interaction of paintings and politicsthroughout this era. The determine of Tian Han exemplifies the instability of traditional delineations among the avant-garde, pop culture, and political propaganda. figuring out Tian Han in his time sheds mild upon a brand new iteration of up to date chinese language avant-gardists (Ai Wei Wei being the easiest known), who, part a century later, are equally enticing nationwide politics and pop culture. Luo indicates how, instead of a panorama of alienated avant-gardists resisting institutional keep watch over at the one hand and a top-down, monolithic Socialist tradition at the different, we discover a cultural milieu the place the avant-garde engaged creatively with renowned kinds and the place either the avant-garde and the preferred converged upon political engagement.

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Extra info for The Avant-Garde and the Popular in Modern China: Tian Han and the Intersection of Performance and Politics

Sample text

6 By the early 1920s, Tokyo had emerged as a world metropolis, blissfully ignorant of its pending destruction in the Great Kantō Earthquake and ensuing fire a few years later. Streetcars had been largely absorbed into the fabric of daily life in the city. Carrying well over one million passengers daily in a city of two million (the population of the Greater Tokyo area amounted to four million),7 they remained a powerful symbol of modernity and a constant presence in Tian Han’s descriptions of the city during his six-­year sojourn there from 1916 to 1922.

The streetcar captivated Tian Han not only as an image of modernity but also as an image of transit and exchange, of mobility. People traveled in streetcars in Tokyo with the same fluidity with which ideas traveled in the textual and visual creations of Tian Han and his contemporaries. , utopian) avant-­gardist. In this particular entry and his 1921 diary in general, Tian Han recounts in detail sensational newspaper stories of love affairs, whether of celebrities or ordinary people, a sign of his obsession with the notion of “free love” and the cultural mélange of Tokyo at this time, when romanticism was coexisting with modernism.

Org/terms 14 The Avant-garde and the popular in modern china Leo Ou-­fan Lee and Andrew J. Nathan used the term mass culture rather differently compared both to David Johnson and to their counterparts writing in Chinese several decades later. Their frame of reference was broader than both the “structure of domination” that Johnson outlined and the mass consumer culture of the post–­Cultural Revolution era, as it included the cultural transformations that took place in early-­twentieth-­century China.

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