Provocations: Avant-Garde Art in China in the 1980s

Cover image: Plate 18: Zhang Peili X? Series: No. 4 1987 Oil on Canvas; 31 1/2 x 39 3/8 in. (80 x 100 cm); private collection

An exhibition curated by Bingqing Wei and Minerva Inwald

Plate 18: Zhang Peili X? Series, 1986. Oil on Canvas; 31 1/2 x 39 3/8 in. (80 x 100 cm); private collection From Inside/out : new Chinese art / edited by Gao Minglu ; with essays by Norman Bryson ... [et al.].

Where: Exhibition Space, Level 2, Fisher Library

The 1980s was a period of dramatic political, cultural, and economic change in the People’s Republic of China. During the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), socialist ideology penetrated every facet of China’s social and cultural realms. After the Cultural Revolution concluded, the Chinese Communist Party shifted towards a policy of “opening and reform.” China’s cultural authorities loosened their control over the artistic sphere, ushering in a period of discussion, debate, and artistic experimentation. For thirty years, official cultural policy had demanded that artistic production “serve the masses” and “serve politics.” In the liberal atmosphere of the mid-1980s, a new generation of path-breaking artists emerged across China, forming “avant-garde” groups collectively known as the ’85 New Wave movement. Concerned with the future of China’s artistic culture, ’85 New Wave artists critically engaged with Western artistic and philosophical concepts and experimented with artistic form, expanding and diversifying the artistic field. Supported by a coterie of art critics, theorists, and curators, these avant-garde artists held provocative exhibitions and published iconoclastic manifestoes. In 1989, the government’s violent crackdown on student protestors brought a decisive end to this period of avant-garde exploration, extinguishing the optimistic spirit of avant-gardism that characterised the 1980s.

This exhibition introduces materials relating to China’s avant-garde held in University of Sydney library collections, including the East Asian Collection and the Schaeffer Fine Arts Library. Focusing on important Chinese fine art periodicals donated to the University of Sydney by Professor John Clark, this exhibition explores the artworks, exhibitions, and ideas that animated the Chinese art world of the 1980s. Supplementing these primary sources with important art historical texts, this exhibition seeks to demonstrate how materials in University of Sydney library collections can be used to explore this dynamic period of art history.

 

Rare Breeds: The Dogs of Rare Books and Special Collections

Topsell, Edward. The history of four-footed beasts and serpents. London : Printed by E. Cotes, for G. Sawbridge ... T. Williams ... and T. Johnson, 1658. RB Wing G624.

 

When: Until 31st January 2018

Where: Level 3 Corridor, Fisher Library F03 and Scitech Library

 

They pursue ill-fated hares across the pages of treatises on hunting; captivate poets and artists as the subjects of dedicated portraits and odes; linger quietly as background figures in illustrations and paintings; and populate narratives in all manner of roles from protagonist to confidante.

Dogs appear frequently in cultural records of many kinds dating back to antiquity. This is hardly surprising, given the longevity and strength of their relationship with humans. Their companionship and utility to man have been extensively documented and discussed by historians, scientists and enthusiasts. Also evident is their ability to captivate the human imagination as exemplars and symbols, positive and sinister, from models of loyalty to harbingers of death.

This exhibition presents a selection of cultural depictions of dogs found in Rare Books & Special Collections, and thus a snapshot of the canine-human relationship as expressed in art and literature. From the wild and mysterious to the familiar and faithful, dogs of all kinds have been coaxed from their kennels, dens and chaise-lounges into the spotlight. No doubt there are many more waiting to be found.

Quick Bites – Kick starting collaborative research partnerships

The Library’s Quick Bite program – a series of short, sharp presentations targeted at Higher Degree Research students and Early Career Researchers – is back and better than ever! Register for our first offering below and keep your eyes peeled for upcoming Quick Bites throughout Semester 2:

 

Kick starting collaborative research partnerships in the humanities, arts and social sciences

Interested in translating your academic research into real world social impact? Have a potential research partner in mind but unsure of how to forge a research collaboration?

Coinciding with Innovation Week, this Quick Bite will outline tips, tools and strategies to help you navigate the world of research partnerships.

Target audience

Higher Degree Research students and Early Career Researchers

 

Presenters

Emma Petherbridge, Academic Liaison Librarian, University Library

Anna Noonan, Business Development Manager, Commercial Development & Industry Partnerships

 

When:                              Wednesday 16 August, 12.15pm-12.45pm

Where:                             New Law School Annex – Seminar Room 446

Register:                           http://usyd.libcal.com/event/3471450

 

This presentation will be recorded. Slides will be uploaded to the Library’s Quick Bites You Tube playlist approximately one week after the event.

Exhibition: Music in and from Chinese-Speaking Communities

Photo by Dr Catherine Ingram

The Conservatorium Library will showcase Dr Catherine Ingram’s research in the upcoming exhibition Music in and from Chinese-Speaking Communities: New Research at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

When: 14 August-13 October

Where: Conservatorium Library glass cases

The exhibition encompasses the cultural connections between Australia and Chinese-speaking communities and their descendants of research engagement with music in and from Chinese-speaking communities conducted by staff and students at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. The exhibition builds on the centuries-old cultural connections between Australia and Chinese-speaking communities and their descendants, presenting new research relating to music in and from Chinese-speaking communities conducted by staff and students at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music

In particular, it will feature Chinese musical instruments and ensemble,  exploring areas of learning, teaching and performance of these instruments and groups in China and Australia. Other recent projects included in the exhibit are studies of China’s incredible ‘piano craze’, the significance of music in spectacular new Buddhist rituals in Taiwan, and the critically under-documented music of the Kam (or Dong) minority people in southwest China.

Launch event

You are invited to attend the launch on 23 August at 3.30pm, which will include light refreshments and short solo performances featuring Chinese instruments.

Rare Bites – Semester 2 program

Rare Bites is a series of informal and entertaining 30 minute lunchtime talks held monthly during semester in 2017 and beyond. If you want to learn about some of the treasures and lesser-known gems within Rare Books & Special Collections at the University Library, this is your opportunity. Audience attendance is free for all.

Date

Location

Speaker

Title

Thu 24 August,

1pm-1.30pm

Charles Perkins Centre, Level 6, Seminar Room Nerida Newbigin (Emeritus Professor, School of Languages and Culture, Department of Italian Studies) Nerida Newbigin will speak about Dante – the major Italian poet of the late Middle Ages, and will focus on some of the copies of his works to be found in Rare Books & Special Collections at the University of Sydney Library

Please RSVP for this event.

Wed 27 September,

1pm-1.30pm

Fisher Library Seminar room 218, level 2 Dr Peter Hobbins, ARC DECRA Fellow, Department of History Researches on Australian Venoms: Snake-bite, Snake-venom, and Antivenine; the Poison of the Platypus, the Poison of the Red-spotted Spider. By Frank Tidswell (1906); RB 615.942 20, http://opac.library.usyd.edu.au:80/record=b2021212~S4

Please RSVP for this event.

Thu 26 October,

1pm–1.30pm

Charles Perkins Centre, Level 6, Seminar Room Charlotte Wood, recent Writer in Residence, Charles Perkins Centre Creative effort: an essay in affirmation is a long and idiosyncratic essay on creativity, written by the Australian painter and writer Norman Lindsay and published by Art in Australia in 1920. Charlotte Wood will give her own idiosyncratic response to Lindsay’s take on the creative process, in light of her investigations into the sources and processes involved in the pursuit of a creative life.

Please RSVP for this event.

 

“Hey!” Keep an eye on your stuff

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You might see us discreetly placing “Hey” coasters on items left unattended in our Library spaces. We’re doing this because we had a few cases of stolen laptops and phones and to remind you that sometimes, people can be awful and take things that aren’t theirs.

The safety of our students and their property is our highest priority, so please keep your personal belongings with you at all times. In case you have found or lost an item, contact Library staff or security.