Reading Chinese Avant-garde Art and Independent Cinema in Context
This introductory chapter provides a background of Chinese avant-garde. From the late 1970s through the 1980s, Chinese avant-garde fought hard against the dominant power of Mao Zedong’s socialist ideology and, in particular, Socialist Realism. As a style and aesthetic method, Socialist Realism perfectly exemplifies “art as an institution,” and this “institution” had oppressed Chinese artists for decades. It is in this context that art curator Gao Minglu defines the avant-garde ’85 Movement as an “anti-traditional and anti-authoritative” movement, in which the artwork was never considered for its commercial or artistic value but was a “spiritual vehicle” to engage the public and society.
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