Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas


  • Word as Image: Chinese Calligraphy in Modern and Contemporary Art
  • Lecture
  • 9/24/2015
  • 17:15-18:15
  • The University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas
  • Host: Kress Foundation Department of Art History, Spencer Museum of Art
Event Description
Zaixin Hong, professor of art at the University of Puget Sound, considers the language of Chinese art history as inseperable from calligraphic writing. In his Writing and the Ancient State: Early China in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge, 2014), Haicheng Wang observes that writing--the most important profession in the early civilizations--is a universal phenomenon. However, in the Western narrative of world art, word as image has yet to become acknowledged among the major art practices worldwide. Before and after the European concept of “fine art” (which excluded calligraphy and seal-engraving) was introduced to China in 1897, Chinese artists took various approaches to reexamining the word-image relation in their art innovation. In so doing, calligraphy in modern and contemporary art not only contributes to modernizing the extant Chinese cultural heritage, but also to revealing universal significance of non-representational visual tradition in the history of world art from its beginning to our times.