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Title: Socially Engaged Art In China And Their Entanglements With Art Institutions
Authors: Lu, Sipei
Supervisors: Marstine, Janet
Unwin, Dave
Award date: 1-Nov-2018
Presented at: University of Leicester
Abstract: This thesis focuses on a specific area in the life-cycle of socially engaged art in mainland China — the point at which socially engaged art that takes place outside of art institution enters into the institutional arena. While many socially engaged art practices in China started out of a critique towards the art system, the relationship between socially engaged art and art space cannot be defined as an antagonistic one. Many artists have used institution resources to facilitate their work and/or artistic career, and identify the revision of art institutions as part and parcel of their practices. At the same time, curators do not take a ‘neutral’ position or step back at all times; instead, they often actively take part in researching, conceptualising implementing, intervening in and exhibiting artists’ projects, the strategies of which depend on various factors, including but not limited to personal interest, artistic judgement and institutional agenda. The author argues that scrutinising the relationship between socially engaged art and art institutions can reveal, critique and develop an understanding of the process and efficacy of socially engaged art and the curation of such practices. Furthermore, it encourages the acknowledgement of the complexities involved in presenting and curating socially engaged art and asks the question: When art institutional professionals are not the initiators of artists’ projects, what responsibilities should they take in exhibition-making activities and beyond? Through case studies, in particular the author’s observation and participation in artists’ collaborations with art institutions, this research identifies and contextualises the diverse modes of and the complexities in socially engaged art and the curation of it, and promotes reflexive thinking among various practitioners, such as artists, curators, and researchers.
Type: Thesis
Level: Doctoral
Qualification: PhD
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Appears in Collections:Leicester Theses
Theses, School of Museum Studies

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