Everyday Legend
Reinventing Traditions in Contemporary Chinese Art
Everyday Legend
The Project
Funded by the Leverhulme Trust, composed by six partners, the two-year international network project Everyday Legend: Reinventing Traditions in Chinese Contemporary Art (2016 - 2018) takes on an interdisciplinary approach to the subject beyond the fields of arts and crafts, and is extended to the perspectives of anthropology, socio-politics, cultural policy and tourism.

Since the 1980s, the pace of globalisation has posed a serious threat to the sustainability of tradition within Chinese arts and culture, as Western architecture, furniture, fashion and products have permeated Chinese cities. Furthermore, urbanisation and tourism have turned traditional Chinese arts and crafts from indigenous enterprises to commercial ones, as items are increasingly mass-produced by machine for consumers around the world.

Such common responses to the prevailing conditions in China today broadly reflect the state of cultural anxiety that this project seeks to investigate, and we hope that our findings can translate and reinvent Chinese traditions through interdisciplinary discussions and creative practices.

Fieldworks
Suzhou, Jingdezhen, Taiyuan, Wutaishan, Yuci, Datong, Vennice
Workshops
Shanghai, Datong, Groningen, London
Contemporary Art Exhibitions
Shanghai, Birmingham
Conferences
Beijing, Birmingham

The twentieth century, for China, represented a hundred years full of change and revolution from perspectives such as politics, economics and culture. City walls, gateways and traditional residential houses were eventually pulled down by the bulldozers of the socialist construction in the midst of city construction. The practice of writing with a Chinese brush was replaced by typing with a Western keyboard. Traditional forms of handicraft such as embroidering, dyeing and weaving, as well as lacquering and paper cutting, either perished due to cultural reticence or were hawked by peddlers in response to the expanding tourism. In the past three decades, the globe has witnessed a rapidly rising China in the East, on its way to becoming the world’s second largest economy. In the meantime, however, a strange discontinuity has occurred in China’s cultural inheritance. Traditional things are all of a sudden regarded as “historic”, or else are fabricated as artefacts of poor quality. Therefore, a sort of thirst for and anxiety regarding the perception of “tradition” has emerged in Chinese intellectual circles. Contemporary art has, once again, become the pioneer in actively responding to such issues through visual practices.

Everyday Legend Exhibitions
Birmingham & Shanghai
16 May, 18 / shanghai
16 May, 18 / shanghai
16 May, 18 / shanghai
16 May, 18 / shanghai
16 May, 18 / shanghai
16 May, 18 / shanghai
16 May, 18 / shanghai
16 May, 18 / shanghai
16 May, 18 / shanghai
16 May, 18 / shanghai
16 May, 18 / shanghai
07 Mar, 18 / shanghai
07 Mar, 18 / shanghai
07 Mar, 18 / shanghai
09 May, 16 / shanghai
09 May, 16 / shanghai
Our Latest News
15 Oct, 18 _ Workshops
When tradition meets contemporary Chinese art.
04 Jun, 18 _ Conferences
Everyday Legend conference to be held at Birmingham City University.
The second Everyday Legend exhibition is to be hosted in Birmingham.
15 May, 18 _ Conferences
Academic symposium held at project partner institution CAFA in Beijing.
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