SOAS University of London

History of Art and Archaeology

Chinese Contemporary Art

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2022/2023
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 undergraduate course will provide insights into Chinese art from the late 1970s to the present and identify major trends across a variety of media, ranging from culturally burdened ink art to the latest experiments in new media art. We will cover a broad range of visual materials from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Chinese diaspora. We will carve out the distinctive logic of art in post-socialist China, shed light on recurring subject matters and techniques, critically assess the merits of different narratives of the story of contemporary Chinese art, and reflect on the ways in which artists refashion their art and themselves as simultaneously local and global, simultaneously ‘Chinese’ and ‘contemporary.

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