Art and Motion: Shen Yuan's Transcultural Aesthetics

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The study considers the Chinese-born artist Shen Yuan in the context of contemporary cultural production, particularly regarding debates about the mobility of people, objects and images, and investigates whether her installations incorporate the notion or action of movement at the levels of their functioning and/or reception. It is argued that Walter Moser’s concept of “artmotion”, as well as findings from recent mobility studies, are useful theories with which to explore this question. The transformational function of her installations is also examined in order to probe how the mobile, sensory and transitory aesthetic experiences felt by the viewer affect their perception and comprehension of objects in the world. An equal concern is how the viewer moves through or around the pieces, contributes to their meaning and thereby participates in wider discourses about Chinese traditions, politics and contemporary concerns. In addition, by considering how Shen’s aesthetics are inspired by Chinese culture at the same time as drawing on the current, global art scene, it will be shown how the transcultural is at the heart of her artistic project and how it demands a constant negotiation between two parts of her self. Finally, the study proposes that mobility studies may be usefully applied to other contemporary artists in transit.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4
Number of pages25
JournalModern Languages Open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2019

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This is an article of 12,500 words.


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