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Free Content Explorations of genealogy in experimental art in China

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This article aims to show how different artists propose an approach to their own family tree and, at the same time, examine new family relationships currently being established in China. These creators explore various issues such as maternity, paternity, and agreements and disagreements between grandparents, parents and children. Other realities that are reflected in their works are the processes of adoption, and how the one-child policy – that began in the 1970s – has affected and currently affects families and Chinese society.

Artists such as Song Dong, He Chengyao, Xing Danwen, Lin Tianmiao, Ma Qiusha, He Chongyue and O Zhang and Shen Yuan deal with their own genealogy in their artworks, linking the individual and the collective, the personal and the social. Their art becomes a tool to focus on different problems that remain in the domestic and intimate sphere. Here, the transition from private to public becomes a political act. The objective is to question, to create spaces for debate and reflection.
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Keywords: Chinese contemporary art; art and society; experimental art; genealogy; performance art; sociology of art

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Barcelona

Publication date: March 1, 2014

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