Appropriation and hybridity of Taiwanese literati painting and American abstract expressionism (1949-2007)

Guo Shin, Ye (2011) Appropriation and hybridity of Taiwanese literati painting and American abstract expressionism (1949-2007). Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.


For centuries, traditional Literati painting has been unchallenged and has not undergone any real or radical change. The Taiwanese Modem Ink-wash Painting that emerged in the 1950s is an extension of this painterly tradition. This new visual form of modern Ink-wash painting that I am presenting, is a hybrid, combining both Chinese Ink-wash painting and American Abstract Expressionism, and represents a different and I hope more progressive artistic style in comparison to the restricted conventions of Literati painting. My thesis seeks to evaluate the mutual appropriation of the stylistic and ideological assumptions of both Chinese painting, in particular Literati painting, and American Abstract Expressionism. The final objective of my research is to create a new hybrid art that comprises both Eastern and Western aesthetics and with a view to establishing new paradigms in visual arts culture. A dualistic approach was therefore adopted to analyse both painterly traditions in terms of their components such as media, techniques, philosophical and aesthetic theories. Some evidences of previous and existing East-West cross-cultural influences are also evaluated as well as the further developments of both traditions to the present day. The findings of these studies were then used to support the creation of my new hybrid artworks with the main artistic components of both Literati painting and Abstract Expressionism. In addition, a list of criteria is thereby created to enable me to evaluate the elements of hybridity of my artworks. Both modem Ink-wash painting and Abstract Expressionism emerged in similar socio-political conditions with a common interest in abstraction and challenging convention, as well as seeking greater freedom of attitude in visual expression. In the same way, and by handling the components in the table of hybrid evaluation criteria' I have set up, a body of my new hybrid art reveals the increasing hybridism from a totally Oriental Literati painting to a painting that is almost fully Westernised. By varying the combinations in the table of hybrid evaluation criteria, one may utilise this methodological framework to create diverse hybrid artworks and which are limited only by imagination.

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