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Contemporary Chinese Art- another kind of view

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‘Transcending Media’ and the Role of Contemporary Art Practices in China

‘Transcending Media’ and the Role of Contemporary Art Practices in China

Thomas J. Berghuis

During the autumn and winter of 2003 a group of artists, art critics, curators and scholars from the Chinese art scene came to meet every Saturday in “Trainspotting”, an underground Digital Video club in Beijing. The participants, including myself, began to use the term ‘transcending media’ (kua meiti) to describe the wide range of practices that have been used in experimental art in China in recent years. Twenty-five years of economic and institutional reforms have helped produce an ‘alternative’ art scene in China that is capable of promoting itself in the international market. However, official national cultural production, especially in educational institutions and promotional channels, continues to be based upon strict separations between disciplines. For the participants in last year’s discussions, the term ‘transcending media’ was an important concept for describing how contemporary art practices often involve dense and complex exchanges between these hitherto distinct fields of visual art, film, music, literature, poetry, music, and performance.

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