CIHA 2016 in Beijing

34th World Congress of Art History

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XU Penny
"收藏不可收藏之物 Collect the Uncollectible: Dematerialisation Art in Chinese Contemporary Art"

Session 16 Commodity and Market

Art   History in Vrije 
  Universiteit Brussel. 


Dematerialisation refers to the ultra-conceptual art that emphasises the thinking process over the complete art object in 1960s-70s. It was also a responding to the established power structure and aesthetic criteria at that time. The dematerialised artistic practices were generally deemed as “uncollectible” because of the inferior materials or ephemeral presences. The result that “uncollectible” artwork been traded and collected into art system signifies that the definition of art has been extended, surpassed and reframed.

This essay investigates the young Chinese contemporary artists (born in late 1970s to 80s) who bear similar concept and attitude to the Western conceptual artists. Although their artworks are not theoretically immaterial, the ideas and discourse constitute the principal elements of their art, and consequently reached out the confined framework. We have reason to believe that, just like Conceptual art, the new “uncollectible artworks” are possibly the prelude of next chapter in Chinese contemporary art. 

XU Penny 

Penny received B.A. from Shanghai Tongji University in 2009 and M.A. from University of New South Wales in 2011. She worked as Curator Assistant in several art institutions as Chengdu Museum of Contemporary Art, L-Art Gallery. She had rich experiences on international art projects. Since 2011, she played an important role in a series of art & culture exchange projects, including Passage of History (54th Vennice Biennale, 2012), Master Mould and Copy Room (CAFAM,2014), The Revenge of Commonplace (56th Vennice Biennale,2014), Xu Bing:World of Words, Goods of Gods (Triennial, Milan, 2016) and etc.

In 2014, she published a solo-translated publication “Confession of an Art Addict: the Biography of Peggy Guggenheim”(China Youth Publishing Group, 2014) . She also wrote for art magazines Robb’s Report, Art and Design and etc.

Penny Dan Xu is currently PhD researcher in Art History in Vrije Universiteit Brussel.