Paths to the Real: Processes of Contemporary Art in China
Thursday, 02 June 2016 | 18:00

You are cordially welcome to the lecture by Peng Feng, Chinese profesor of aesthetics and art criticism on Thursday, 2 June 2016 at 6 p.m. in the Seminar Room of Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova. The lecture is organised by Postgraduate School ZRC SAZU in collaboration with Slovenian Society of Aesthetics and Moderna galerija.



Does contemporary art have stages or processes? According to Arthur Danto and Hans Belting, the answer should be no. Contemporary art manifests an awareness of a history of art but no longer carries it forward. In other words, contemporary art reaches the post-historical stage of art. If Danto and Belting were right, this means that contemporary art in Northern America and Western Europe would not have a history. But the situation in China and Eastern Europe, i.e. the post-socialist countries, is different. The beginning of contemporary art in post-socialist countries is clear. However, history of contemporary art in Eastern European countries is suspect. The radical revolution in Eastern Europe changed the society immediately. Contemporary art in Eastern Europe is being absorbed into the international contemporary art very quickly and finally reaches its post-historical stage. The situation in China is different not only from the post-modernist but also from the post-socialist viewpoint. Instead of radical revolution, China is carrying on a gradual reformation. Contemporary art has not yet won the fight with the socialist realism. It does not yet accomplish its mission, that is, to promote political reform and social change. Therefore, contemporary art in China is progressing toward the so-called post-historical stage but it has not yet reached it.



PENG Feng: Ph.D. from Peking University; he is professor of aesthetics and art criticism at School of Arts, Peking University. Currently he is also the vice-dean of School of Arts and the director of the Center for Aesthetics and Aesthetic Education, Peking University. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the International Association for Aesthetics (IAA) and a member of the Executive Committee of the Chinese Society of Aesthetics. He has published 15 academic books including: The System of Contemporary Art Theory (Beijing: Peking University Press, 2016), Return of Presence: New Tendency in Philosophy and Contemporary Art (Beijing: China Federation of Literary and Art Circles Press, 2016), Aesthetic Venturing in the Arts (Beijing: Beijing Normal University Press, 2015), Modern Chinese Aesthetics (Nanjing: Fenghuang Press, 2014), Pervasion: China Pavilion at the 54th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia (Beijing: People’s Art Press, 2012), Introduction to Aesthetics (Shanghai: Fudan University, 2011) and Return of Beauty: 11 Issues of Contemporary Aesthetics (Beijing: Peking University Press, 2009) and so on. He also translated books, among them: Nelson Goodman Languages of Art; Peter Kivy (ed.) The Blackwell Guide to Aesthetics; and Richard Shusterman Pragmatist Aesthetics, etcHe published over 200 papers on aesthetics, theory of contemporary art, and history of Chinese philosophy. He is also a playwright, freelance art critic and curator of exhibitions at international level. He has curated over 200 art exhibitions including the China Pavilion at the 54th international art exhibition of Venice Biennale 2011, The 1st International Sculpture Exhibition of Datong Biennale 2011, and The 1st International Art Exhibition of China – Xinjiang Biennale 2014. Currently, his musical The Red Lantern is travelling in China. A profile with the title “Peng Feng: Professional Professor, Amateur Curator” was published in Art in America, July 2013.

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