Reimagined Nature: Chinese Literati Gardens in Contemporary Art
How can contemporary art works responding to Chinese literati gardens reimagine these sites beyond their inherent value as cultural heritage?
This practice-integrated research analyses the multi-faceted representations of Chinese traditional literati gardens, exploring their aesthetic values and functions in contemporary era.
As Cultural Heritage sites, literati gardens need to engage contemporary visitors in historical spaces. Therefore, Zhou Yang's interdisciplinary research examines how contemporary art generates new understandings of Chinese literati gardens and creates new experience for the audience.
Literati gardens have been well-researched in classical Sinology as well as architectural history. Chuin Tung’s 1936 essay explained that Chinese gardens were essentially ‘a branch of pictorial art’ (Tung, 1936). James Cahill stated that literati gardens were ‘Earthly Paradise built within the realms of the Mortals’ (Cahill, 2011). Meanwhile, literati gardens have catalysed endless possibilities of visual narratives.
Today, Chinese and international artists such as Eliasson are inspired by literati gardens, and contemporary art exhibitions are commissioned within gardens’ spaces. However, previous garden research and contemporary art belong to separated worlds. Zhou Yang's research will bridge different disciplines, revealing new use-values of literati gardens in a contemporary context.
- Prof Jiehong Jiang
- Dr Lauren Walden
- Nathan Tromans