Theorising and Historicising Contemporary Asian Art: Critical Reflections on the Social Contexts of Art in/from Asia

Aesthetics, Politics and Histories: The Social Context of Art AAANZ Conference 2018
December 5-7, 2018, School of Art, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

Panel Session:

Dr Michelle Antoinette, Monash University

Dr Justine Poplin, Victoria University Australia

Professor Paul Gladston, University of New South Wales

This panel proposes to explore the significances of theoretical and historical work for probing contemporary Asian art and its social contexts. This includes consideration of such work from within the academy, as well as within the work of art museums, galleries and other art institutional platforms. What use is theory to critically examining contemporary Asian art's aesthetics, politics and histories? What is the significance of an historical lens in informing and shaping aesthetic and social narratives of contemporary art in/from Asia? Rather than a specific focus on any one Asian country, this panel proposes a regional lens to examine critically, intersecting themes and issues of relevance in discussing contemporary Asian art. In particular, it reflects on the relevance of theory and history in articulating distinct aesthetic and social narratives for contemporary Asian art.

In exploring the ‘contemporary’ and ‘Asia’, the panel invites reflection on the diverse temporalities and social contexts of contemporary art. In this way, the panel session responds to this year's AAANZ theme especially by seeking to expand the discourse of visual arts in our region to include contemporary Asian art and museum perspectives. Particular attention will be paid to recent debates related to the term contemporaneity that have sought to extend critical legitimacy to experiences and representations of modernity divergent from those conventionally associated with western(ized) post-Enlightenment discourses. The panel will attempt to look beyond the becalming perspectivism of those debates towards the possibility of a critically dynamic contemporaneity located in productive interaction between differing cultural outlooks.