Painting China modern

Until the twentieth century, there were no words for ‘art’ or ‘fine art’ in the Chinese language.

Professor of Chinese, Yiyan Wang

However, by the third decade of the twentieth century, a total transformation had occurred. Although changes in the concept and practice of art are considered an essential part of China’s path towards modernity, an illustration of the events leading to ‘modern art’ is absent from the country’s written history.

Marsden funding of $495,000 will support Yiyan Wang, Professor of Chinese in the School of Languages and Cultures, to produce the first book on the debate over art, modernity and nationhood during the last years of imperial China and the beginning decades of the Republican era (1900–1930).