Carol Yinghua Lu will give a Brown Bag Lunch presentation on Monday, August 28 at 12:15 pm. Her talk is entitled “Revisits and Thick Description: Understanding the Legacy of Socialist Realism in the Historical Process of Contemporary Practice in China through Exhibition Making.”

In recent decades, conditions of artistic production have become increasingly homogenous throughout the world. As greater communications and exchange reveal parallel concerns and artistic practices in China and the rest of the world, a new sense of anxiety has emerged among Chinese artists to find the appropriate intellectual and historical instruments to describe their conditions and contexts in China. This talk presents an ongoing research project that Lu has carried out in collaboration with the artist Liu Ding. The research in question, titled From the Issue of Art to the Issue of Position: Echoes of Socialist Realism, explores the presence and legacy of Socialist Realism not merely as an artistic style or set of aesthetic strategies, but essentially as an ideological mechanism and structure that has shaped the historical evolution of contemporary art in China. This research seeks to place contemporary art practice in the historical context of modernization in China. Lu and Ding argue that contemporary art practice has been perceived under the misleading assumption of being in opposition to the governing ideology. In fact it has been operating on a parallel track driven by ambition and an obsession with being modern akin to that of the state, while maintaining its own identity, oscillating between the desire to be part of the world and the anxiety of losing its own footing.

Carol Yinghua Lu is an art critic and curator, as well as a PhD candidate in art history at the University of Melbourne. She is a contributing editor at Frieze, is on the advisory board of The Exhibitionist, and was on the jury for the Golden Lion Award at the 2011 Venice Biennale. She also served as co-artistic director of the 2012 Gwangju Biennale and co-curator of the 7th ShenzhenSculpture Biennale in 2012. From 2012 to 2015, she was the artistic director and chief curator of OCAT Shenzhen and in 2013 she was the first visiting fellow in the Asia-Pacific Fellowship program at the Tate Research Centre. In collaboration with the artist LiuDing, she is in the process of researching the legacy of Socialist Realism in the practice and historical narrative of contemporary art in China. This is the focus of her work while in residence at Bard Graduate Center as ARIAH East Asia Fellow (July–September 2017).

This event will be livestreamed. Please check back the day of the event for a link to the video. To watch videos of past events please visit our YouTube page.