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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : History of Art

Postgraduate Course: Chinese Ink Art in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries (HIAR11123)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryFocusing on the development of Chinese contemporary ink painting throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the course tells the story of another kind of modern and contemporary art that has been predominantly excluded from mainstream West-centric art history narratives. The students will examine what Chinese ink art is and why, despite representing a centuries-old form of painting, this art-form's material and conceptual qualities continue to provide an important source of inspiration to artists.
Course description The exploration of how artists reinvigorated Chinese ink painting starts in China's Republican period (1912-1949), which brought the downfall of the Qing, the country's last imperial dynasty. The course then unfolds to illuminate the subsequent diversity of approaches to Chinese ink art that was turned into political propaganda painting under Mao's Communist regime, or that, more recently, was merged with digital technologies as a means of further contemporising and globalising the ink medium. As well as examining works made by artists based in Mainland and Greater China, we will also consider works made in the medium of Chinese ink art by diaspora artists, living for example in Europe and North America. The course ends with a focus on present-day curatorial approaches, adopted by Western museums, galleries and auction houses among others, towards contemporary Chinese ink art. These reveal the persistence of some stereotypes towards this historical art form, thereby calling for the need to critically revise the latter's positioning in the global art world.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  22
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1 x 4000 word essay 100% - submitted weeks 8-11
Feedback Students are given feedback on FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT as follows:
Students will submit a mid-semester essay plan (c.500 words) and annotated preliminary bibliography. Written feedback on the student plans will be provided with the opportunity for a one-to-one follow-up meeting.

SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT: Written feedback on student essays will be provided, in addition to the opportunity for a one-to-one meeting towards the end of semester.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate in-depth knowledge and understanding of Chinese ink art's key material and conceptual qualities as well as how these were reinterpreted by modern and contemporary Chinese artists, based in mainland China and/or in other places potentially including Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Europe and North America.
  2. Critically examine West-centric narratives of art history and question the political meanings of terms including 'modern' and 'contemporary art'.
  3. Analyse the ways in which art exhibitions are curated in both non-profit and commercial contexts and how curatorial approaches towards contemporary art may be affected if artworks incorporate culturally distinct elements, such as the Chinese ink medium.
  4. Develop a historically informed approach to the analysis and interpretation of Chinese ink art, displaying some measure of critical independence.
Reading List
Julia F. Andrews and Kuiyi Shen, ed., A Century in Crisis: Modernity and Tradition in the Art of Twentieth-Century China (New York: Guggenheim Museum, 1998)

Lü Peng, A History of Art in 20th-Century China (Milan: Charta Editions, 2010)

David Clarke, 'Abstraction and Modern Chinese Art', in Discrepant Abstraction, ed. Kobena Mercer (London and Cambridge: Iniva and MIT Press, 2006), 75-93

Francesca Dal Lago, 'The 'Global' Contemporary Art Canon and the Case of China', ARTMargins, 3 (2014), 77-97

Maxwell K. Hearn, ed., Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2013)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Visual and critical analysis; Clear thinking and the development of an argument; Independent research; Presentation and communication skills; Organisation and planning; Teamwork through group discussion
KeywordsInk painting,Chinese ink,cultural heritage,cultural stereotypes,curating,Global modern art
Course organiserDr Alina Sinelnyk
Course secretary Yijia Chen
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