‘M+ Matters: Post-1949 Visual and Material Culture in China’ is a public talk that considers critical issues in the first decades of the socialist state in China through a multidisciplinary lens, examining design and visual art. Bringing together three international scholars and curators, it aims to propose new ways of appraising the highly complex narratives of socialist cultural production in China, which have often been overlooked by historians.

Following the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the Chinese state devised visual and material strategies to achieve its particular conception of socialist modernity. The talk builds on pioneering studies that contextualise and re-examine the manifestations of this modernity—often positioned as alternative or oppositional—across geographies, time, and disciplines within China’s shifting socio-economic and political frameworks.

The talk consists of three presentations:

‘Everyday Desirables: What Wristwatches, Sewing Machines, and Bicycles Can Tell Us about Mao-Era China’

Karl Gerth (Hwei-Chih and Julia Hsiu Endowed Chair in Chinese Studies and Professor of History, Department of History, University of California, San Diego)

‘New China’s Showcase: The China Pavilion at the Leipzig Fairs in East Germany’

Jennifer Altehenger (Lecturer in Contemporary Chinese History, Department of History, King’s College London)

‘Crossing the Pacific: A Hidden History’

Zheng Shengtian (Adjunct Director, Institute of Asian Art, Vancouver Art Gallery)

A conversation will follow the talk, with the participation of the speakers and Denise Ho (Assistant Professor of History, Department of History, Yale University), Pi Li (Sigg Senior Curator, Visual Art, M+), and Shirley Surya (Associate Curator, Design and Architecture, M+).

This edition of M+ Matters is organised by Shirley Surya (Associate Curator, Design and Architecture, M+) and Jennifer Wong (Assistant Curator, Design and Architecture, M+), with Jennifer Altehenger (Lecturer in Contemporary Chinese History, Department of History, King's College London) and Denise Ho (Assistant Professor of History, Department of History, Yale University), and is partially funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Date:
5 July 2018 (Thursday)

Time:
6:30pm–8:30pm

Venue:
Miller Theater, Asia Society Hong Kong Center, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty, Hong Kong

Language:
English with simultaneous interpretation in Cantonese and Mandarin.

Registraton:
Free admission. Limited capacity on a first-come, first-served basis.

REGISTER NOW

Enquiries: 
Minnie Cheung: (852) 2200 0137, minnie.cheung@mplus.org.hk

Adverse Weather Arrangement:
The programme will be cancelled if a typhoon signal no. 8 or above, or a black rainstorm warning, is in force at or after 3pm on the day of the event.

 

This public talk follows on two days of internal discussion organised by M+ on a range of topics, including the direct and indirect influence and transnational exchange between China, the Soviet Bloc, Latin America, and beyond; the impact of the production, consumption, and mediation of industrial products, both domestically and abroad; the use of posters, memorabilia, films, and exhibitions as vehicles for state propaganda and means of reinforcing collectivism; and the goals and practices of institutions in building collections of material from the post-1949 era.

Participants in ‘M+ Matters: Post-1949 Visual and Material Culture in China’ include Jennifer Altehenger (Lecturer in Contemporary Chinese History, Department of History, King’s College London), Laurence Coderre (Assistant Professor, Department of East Asian Studies, New York University), Karl Gerth (Hwei-Chih and Julia Hsiu Endowed Chair in Chinese Studies and Professor of History, Department of History, University of California, San Diego), Mary Ginsberg (Visiting Academic, British Museum), Denise Ho (Assistant Professor of History, Department of History, Yale University), Ying Qian (Assistant Professor, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University), Alexandra Sankova (Director, Moscow Design Museum), Shen Yu (Founder, China Industrial Design Museum), Song Ke (Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, Harbin Institute of Technology (Shenzhen)), and Zheng Shengtian (Adjunct Director, Institute of Asian Art, Vancouver Art Gallery).

With support from: 

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