Burden or Legacy

From the Chinese Cultural Revolution to Contemporary Art


Edited by Jiehong Jiang

ISBN : 978-962-209-870-1

Film, Media, Fine Arts

June 2007

172 pages, 7″ x 10″

  • HK$250.00

Also available in Hardback HK$450.00

The Cultural Revolution in China (1966–1976) has often been regarded as a period of disruptive turbulence and frenzied savagery. Its legacy to artistic growth and expression amounts to nothing except a burden of haunting traumas. Or does it amount to more than that?

The seven authors in this anthology of essays and images argue that it does. Focusing on the impact of the Cultural Revolution on the development of contemporary art in China, they present fresh and critical perspectives on how one of the most disturbing periods of modern Chinese history has affected the creativity of contemporary Chinese artists.

Featuring about 140 coloured illustrations by various Chinese artists and six essays whose themes range from the sociohistorical impact of Mao to the visual representation of trauma and memories, Burden or Legacy brings a multidimensional view to our understanding of the influence of the Cultural Revolution on contemporary China. This is one of the first studies in English on the topic and will serve as a beginning point for anyone who is interested in the history, development, and creation of contemporary art in China.

Dr Jiang Jiehong (Joshua) has lived and worked in Birmingham since 1998. Jiang’s recent research and curatorial projects include an international symposium “The Visual Legacy of the Chinese Cultural Revolution in Contemporary Art” (Birmingham, 2004), and contemporary art exhibitions “Collective Space” (Hong Kong, 2005) and “Collective Identity” (Manchester and Hong Kong, 2007), which were supported by awards from the Art and Humanity Research Council UK (2003–04, 2006–07). Jiang has recently set up a Centre for Chinese Visual Arts (CCVA), based at UCE Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, where he is also responsible for postgraduate teaching and research degree supervision.