Monday, December 11, 2006

Yellow Box Project and Chinese Aesthetics

Yellow Box Project and Chinese Aethetics
By Prof. Gao Shiming

“Yellow Box” is a project initiated by the Visual Culture Research
Centre of China Academy of Art. This project intends to investigate
issues of connoisseurship and display that are embedded in Chinese
traditional spaces; meanwhile it also intends to reinterpret
traditional literati spirit in light of contemporary art. In 2005, the
first exhibition of “Yellow Box” subtitled “Contemporary Calligraphy
and Painting in Taiwan” was held at the Taipei Fine Art Museum. That
exhibition experimented with solutions for displaying the subtlety of
literati art within the sterile “white cube” by either building
mediating structures or setting up viewing procedures. Based on that
exhibition’s experiment, the present “Yellow Box” project continues the
research in exhibition practice by studying contemporary art and
architecture. In September 2006, “Yellow Box” project takes the Xiao
Ximen (Minor West Gate) group of traditional vernacular buildings in
Qingpu district as the subject of investigation and experimental space
for contemporary art, seeking to discover hidden potentials for
different artistic media in such a place of living and working, while
also keeping in mind the parameter of Chinese daily activities. This
project hopes to stimulate new creative attitudes for contemporary art
and bring to fore the implicit cultural significance hidden in
vernacular architectural spaces. This is done by building a bridge
linking traditional culture and the creative industries, so as to
uncover the mechanics of interdependence between native resources and
cultural creativity.

At present there is a rage of building art galleries and art museums
throughout China. It is therefore important to ask questions such as:
Does the space of museums have to follow the canonical spectator
regime? Will the traditional culture of intimate appreciation still
retain its charm in the museum system? What is the significance of the
classical experience in art appreciation to the configuration of space
in contemporary architecture? How do we retain traditional visual
memories, and at the same time endow them with fresh significance and
activity. These are the questions that the “Yellow Box” hopes to

Prof. Gao Shiming of China Academy of Art will present the research of
“Yellow box” project, which is concerned with the relationship between
Chinese traditional culture of appreciation and museum-based
spectatorship regime.

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