Paper short abstract:
Having left China for France in 1989, Huang Yong Ping (1954-) has developed an original relation with his homeland. While disapproving the ideology prevailing in Mainland China, he remains also very critical about the Western-centrism prevailing on the international scene, including the art world.
Paper long abstract:
In parallel, he treasures his Chinese cultural heritage and uses it as a prism to approach and decipher the fundamentals of Western culture. By avoiding the binary opposition between East and West, his work explores an alternative path: instead of choosing a camp, he looks at the main touch-points between the two civilisations and cultures in order to anchor his work.
Far from becoming diversionary, Huang's work regularly tackles the main historical challenges and social issues of our time: the rise of radical Islam, the globalisation, the quest for world power, the climate change, the migrants, among others. Moreover, Huang Yong Ping contributes to update the French trope of "artiste engagé” ("engaged artist" in English) that has been popularised over 20th century: his main ambition is to deconstruct the so-called cultural identities, while unveiling the processes and forces at stake in their development. Thus, he brings politics into his art, rather than diluting his art into politics. Interestingly, his work has been censored in both China and Western countries.
Besides, Huang Yong Ping’s transcultural path enables to raise compelling theoretical questions, such as the relevance of the notion of “Chinese contemporary art”, which he considers as a Western construct. Furthermore, it provides an appropriate framework to reflect the ongoing process of westernisation that China has gone through over the last decades.
Art, Authenticity and Authority: Traversing the Power Struggles