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Special Collection

Encounters between Asian and Western Art in the 20th and 21st centuries: a liberating influence for Asia?

Collection launched: 24 Apr 2019

In his book Patterns of Intention, the art historian Michael Baxandall protests against the term ‘influence’, especially when used to suggest passive impregnation. Instead, he substitutes ‘tradition’, ‘as an active and reciprocal relation with the culture that possesses this view’. Articles in this Special Collection retain Baxandall’s formulation to analyze the encounters between Asian modernities and Western art. They show how encounters can be both fruitful and harmful, permitting a partial liberation from stereotyped and oppressive traditional practices, leading to a new take on traditions revitalised but also dismantling local identities.

They look at: cases of fruitful meetings between Asian artists and Western artists or pedagogues, such as Victor Tardieu in Vietnam or Ernest Havell in India; cases of Western artists and thinkers exerting a liberating influence through published catalogues or magazines (as is the case of Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, or James Turrell); and cases of forced westernisation which created an alienation from local culture. The geographical areas covered in this Collection are China, Indochina, Japan, India, Pakistan, and Turkey.

This Special Collection is edited by Professor Christine Vial Kayser, ICP, Sorbonne University, France, and Professor Marie Laureillard, Lyon 2 University, France.