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Tuesday, January 26, 2021


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Chun-yu Liu (Clare)

Chun-yu Liu (Clare)
Revisiting English Chinoiserie from a Perspective of Postcolonialism: How Can New Narratives be Embedded into Cultural Heritage Sites through Art Practice?

‘The Orient was Orientalized not only because it was discovered to be “Oriental” in all those ways considered commonplace by an average nineteenth century European, but also it could be – that is, submitted to being – made Oriental’ (Said, 1978: 5-6).

This practice-based fine art research examines the historiography of chinoiserie with ideas from postcolonial theory. It has three case studies that are the Royal Pavilion Brighton, Temple Newsam and the Chinese House at Stowe. Chinoiserie, as an interpretation and imitation of Chinese imagery and artistic styles, did not seek precision or accuracy, but were a result of imaginary construct and fantasy. It is the power relationship, representation of Chineseness and prescribed otherness this research aims to investigate critically and to embed new narratives through art practice -to assess the chosen sites’ historiography and physicality of chinoiserie and evaluate them with notions such as colonialism, imperialism, otherness, self/other, representation and power. Proposed artworks will be both lens-based and textual.

In her practice outside the PhD, Liu’s work looks into oral history and lived experience of the Chinese diaspora as her practice is informed by her reading of Cultural Studies, exploration of the audiovisual medium and personal background. Chun-yu employs newly created interviews, existing footage and old family archival photography to document and showcase oral history and lived experience of diasporic individuals. Her work also analyses the relationship between personal and national history, historical events and individuals’ lived experiences of them, life as a construction of history, and ultimately how individuals live a life in a time of profound social and political turbulence.

Chun-yu’s video works have been screened/exhibited internationally, including at the ICA (London), Goethe Institut (Lisbon), Kampnagel (Hamburg), Bundoora Homestead Art Centre (Melbourne), Taipei International Video Art Exhibition (Taipei), and Minsheng Art Museum (Beijing). Her moving image work is part of the collection at Videotage (Hong Kong). She was a finalist to Neo:artprize in 2015, shortlisted for Bloomberg New Contemporaries in 2015 and 2016, in the UK, and recipient of Junior Travel Grant from American Association for Chinese Studies in 2016. Liu holds an MFA in Fine Art from Wimbledon College of Arts, University of the Arts London. Originally she was trained to be an abstract painter.


Research Degree: PhD Practice-based, Full-time
Department: Fine Art
Funded: Vice-Chancellor Scholarship, Manchester Metropolitan University