SOAS University of London

Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts

Chinese Contemporary Art

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 2, Year 3 or Year 4
Taught in:
Term 1

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the course, students will:

  • be familiar with a broad range of visual material and media, from painting, photography and sculpture, through performance, installation, video art and independent animation
  • have an understanding of major  trends in contemporary Chinese art, including the contemporary adaptations of classical techniques and subject matters as well as of the latest experiments in new media art
  •  have an understanding of the relationship of the visual arts to political and urban developments in postsocialist China
  •  have the ability to situate the visual material in relation to some of the developments in international art
  •  Have an understanding of one of the dynamics of the Chinese art scene and of its position in the global art market

Students should also advance their ability to:

  • construct an argument in both oral and written form
  •  research a topic and construct a bibliography
  •  assimilate new material to relevant theories and methods in the history of art


1 hour of lectures and 1 hour of tutorials per week.

Scope and syllabus

This half-unit course is the contemporary complement to two existing courses, Art and Culture in Imperial China and Art and Culture in Modern China. The course will provide insights into Chinese art in the 21st century and identify trends across a variety of media, ranging from classically inspired new ink paintings to the latest ventures in new media art. It will look at a broad range of visual material from Greater China and some selected works from the Chinese diaspora. The course will carve out the distinctive logic of art in post-socialist China, shed light on recurring subject matters and techniques and situate Chinese art within the global art market. 

Method of assessment

  • One 750 word annotated bibliography - 20%
  • One 1,500 word research essay - 20%
  • One two hour exam - 60%
  • One 750 word annotated bibliography - 20%
  • One 1,750 word research essay - 20%
  • One two hour exam - 60%


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules