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Dreams of Shanshui: China’s environmental modernization and landscape aesthetics


Riemenschnitter, Andrea Hong Anrui (2018). Dreams of Shanshui: China’s environmental modernization and landscape aesthetics. International Communication of Chinese Culture, 5(1-2):101-120.

Abstract

In the spring of 2015, a series of shanshui landscapes by cartoon artist Feng Zikai decorated official China Dream posters in Shanghai, and could since then be encountered in the streets and subway stations of all major cities. While the dissem- ination of national values and active citizen participation in the government’s envi- ronmental modernization program is clearly the major trajectory, this rapprochement towards a formerly prosecuted artist concomitantly illustrates the current reorientation towards local traditions and cultural continuity in China’s state ideology and propa- ganda work. At the same time, the 2014/15 Shanghai arts scene contributed a number of avant-garde landscape art works that pronounced their creators’ concern about the environmental crisis. It will be argued that there is a subliminal dialogue between Xi Jinping’sproject of landscaping the China Dream and the artists’ selective reclamation of shanshui aesthetics in their ecocritical approaches. Whereas the national propa- ganda machine strives to appease opposition against rampant industrial pollution and heritage demolition, the cultural sphere responds by taking the government’s tam- pering with traditional ethico-aesthetic principles at its word.

Abstract

In the spring of 2015, a series of shanshui landscapes by cartoon artist Feng Zikai decorated official China Dream posters in Shanghai, and could since then be encountered in the streets and subway stations of all major cities. While the dissem- ination of national values and active citizen participation in the government’s envi- ronmental modernization program is clearly the major trajectory, this rapprochement towards a formerly prosecuted artist concomitantly illustrates the current reorientation towards local traditions and cultural continuity in China’s state ideology and propa- ganda work. At the same time, the 2014/15 Shanghai arts scene contributed a number of avant-garde landscape art works that pronounced their creators’ concern about the environmental crisis. It will be argued that there is a subliminal dialogue between Xi Jinping’sproject of landscaping the China Dream and the artists’ selective reclamation of shanshui aesthetics in their ecocritical approaches. Whereas the national propa- ganda machine strives to appease opposition against rampant industrial pollution and heritage demolition, the cultural sphere responds by taking the government’s tam- pering with traditional ethico-aesthetic principles at its word.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:180 Ancient, medieval & eastern philosophy
290 Other religions
Language:English
Date:May 2018
Deposited On:06 Jun 2018 13:27
Last Modified:24 Sep 2019 23:30
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:2197-4233
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s40636-018-0121-x

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