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Explores how Xu Bing and other contemporary Chinese artists use Western ideas within a Chinese cultural discourse. 'How Chinese is contemporary Chinese art? Treasured by collectors, critics, and art world cognoscenti, this art developed within an avant-garde that looked West to find a language to strike out against government control. Traditionally, Chinese artistic expression has been related to the structure and function of the Chinese language and the assumptions of Chinese natural cosmology. Is contemporary Chinese art rooted in these traditions or is it an example of cultural self-colonization? Contributors to this volume address this question, going beyond the more obvious political and social commentaries on contemporary Chinese art to find resonances between contemporary artistic ideas and the indigenous sources of Chinese cultural self-understanding. Focusing in particular on the acclaimed artist Xu Bing, this book looks at how he and his peers have navigated between two different cultural sites to establish a third place, a place from which to appropriate Western ideas and use them to address centuries-old Chinese cultural issues within a Chinese cultural discourse.

Table of Contents

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  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. Illustrations
  2. pp. vii-ix
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xi-xii
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  1. A Dilemma in Contemporary Chinese Art: An Introduction
  2. pp. xiii-xxiv
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  1. 1. Reading and Misreading: Double Entendre in Locally Oriented Logos
  2. pp. 1-32
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  1. 2. Reading Xu Bing’s A Book from the Sky: A Case Study in the Making of Meaning
  2. pp. 33-65
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  1. 3. Seriousness, Playfulness, and a Religious Reading of Tianshu
  2. pp. 67-94
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  1. 4. Making Natural Languages in Contemporary Chinese Art
  2. pp. 95-115
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  1. 5. The Living Word: Xu Bing and the Art of Chan Wordplay
  2. pp. 117-146
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  1. 6. Transmission of Meanings: A Study of Shen Wai Shen 身外身 (Body Outside Body) by Xu Bing 徐冰
  2. pp. 147-175
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  1. 7. The Space Between
  2. pp. 177-198
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  1. Appendix 1
  2. pp. 199-209
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  1. Appendix 2
  2. pp. 211-224
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  1. Contributors
  2. pp. 225-227
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 229-237
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