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Cityscapes: Representations of the Urban in East Asian Art

27.04.2018 - 28.04.2018

Workshop Cityscapes: Representations of the Urban in East Asian Art  Program

Freie Universität Berlin – Zhejiang University – 

April 27–28, 2018, Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Small Lecture Room, Takustrasse 40, 14195 Berlin

The joint workshop Cityscapes: Representations of the Urban in East Asian Art investigates notions of the city and urban culture in the context of the production, reception, and dissemination of art and artifacts in East Asia. Cities carry multiple layers of cultural and art historical meaning: whether as historic sites, places of heritage, projects of the future, or ideal envisioned places, cities embody combined elements of cultural reminiscence, visions, hopes, and challenges both real and utopian. Here, the notion of “cityscape” may refer to individual or multiple spaces located within a single city, or to the city in its entirety; as a place that has adopted various meanings in the collective consciousness, memory, and imaginary of certain social groups in specific cultural and historical contexts. Cities exist as dynamic environments of living shaped by specific histories, geographies, topographies, political conditions etc. Yet they also exist as generic ideas that have inspired artists of different times and backgrounds as myths and symbols. The geo-identities related with specific urban locales must thus be seen as an essential factor both shaped by and shaping the cityscape at large. The two-day symposium brings together scholars of different art historical backgrounds to examine and discuss case-specific representations and implications of cities and cityscapes across various media, art genres, and geographical regions of East Asia in past and present times. Here, connotations of the urban landscape are explored as themes in art historical narrative, as art theoretical concepts, or as visual motifs in artworks. Further aspects that could be taken into consideration include institutional infrastructures; public and private spheres of producing and exhibiting art; and urban centers and peripheries of artistic production.