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Department of the History of Art and Archaeology

Tianshuang Liang 梁天爽



Tianshuang Liang
Tianshuang Liang 梁天爽
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Thesis title:
The Agency of Syncretism in Modern Chinese Art: 1908-1936
Internal Supervisors

PhD Research

This doctoral research explores novel aspects and understandings of syncretism (zhezhong 折衷) —an artistic concept that conveys the synthesis of the East and the West, the past and the present— in Chinese art during the Republican period (1911-1949). Zhezhong, is a very old term in Chinese, going at least as far back as Chuci 楚辭 (the Songs of Chu), an anthology of Chinese poetry attributed to a Chinese poet Qu Yuan in 4th century BC, however, the significance of it in modern Chinese art in which it played a modernising role demands different understandings. Through a case study of Gao Qifeng 高奇峰 (1889-1933), a chief proponent of syncretism, and one of the founding members of the so-called Lingnan School, this research emphasises the complex artistic, aesthetic, social and political aspects of syncretism in Chinese art of the new Republic. Different to modern scholarship that studies a particular painting school, region or genre of this period, my research is an enquiry into how artistic concept could have reshaped and changed the worldview of modern Chinese art as a whole.

PhD Publications

「北樓臨董」與國畫復活運動 Revival of the Tradition: A Painting Album by Jin Cheng (1878-1926) After the Old Masters, in Revival of National-Style Painting and Chinese Painting in Guangdong ( 廣東中國畫與國畫復活運動 Guangdong zhongguohua yu guohua fuhuo yundong) Guangzhou: Lingnan meishu chubanshe, 2014 (forthcoming)

PhD Conferences

  • "Elegant Gathering: Art, Networks and Societies in 1910s China," EACS 2014 Annual Conference, (European Association for Chinese Studies), Braga, Coimbra, Portugal, 22-26 July 2014
  • “A True Record: the Interplay of Local, Regional and World Art in 1910s Shanghai,” Berkeley-Stanford Graduate Student Conference in Modern Chinese Humanities, U.C. Berkeley, United States, 18-19 April 2014
  • “Repositioning the Lingnan School: Aesthetic Innovations on the Global Stage,” Association for Asian Studies (AAS) Annual Conference, Philadelphia, PA, United States, 27-30 March 2014
  • “ 「北樓臨董」與國畫復活運動 Revival of the Tradition: A Painting Album by Jin Cheng (1878-1926) After the Old Masters,” at “Revival of National-Style Painting and Chinese Painting in Guangdong,” Memorial Museum of the Lingnan School of Painting, Guangzhou, China, 11-13 December 2013. (In Chinese)
  • “The Meeting Space of Shanghai, Canton and the World Art in the New Republic — A Case Study of Zhenxiang huabao,” at “International Conference — Global goes Local: Visualizing Regional Cultures in the Arts of Greater China,” Academy of Visual Arts, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, 27-29 June 2013
  • “A New Aesthetic Concept in Modern Chinese Art: Syncretism and Gao Qifeng,” at “China’s Art History: a Global Field,” History of Art Department, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, 16 June 2013
  • “The Agency of Syncretism in Modern Chinese Art,” at “UCL Postgraduate Symposium in History of Art and Visual Culture 2012,” History of Art Department, UCL, London, 11 June 2012.