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An art sample from China

Author: Shi Yong Aug,1996

The concept of a suitcase is always associated with one's private life style, and a transparent suitcase appearing in a public place makes us feel uneasy. What we shall see is a well designed and finely tailored item of clothing considered typically Chinese according to Western ethnocentric views, which can safely become a symbolic resource for representing the situation or the identity of Chinese art (the new taxonomy of cultures created under the guise of Western promotion of multiculturalism privileges this symbolic resource.) If we were to put this piece of clothing into a transparent suitcase, which we then pushed into the context of the exhibition area on a local luggage cart, acting as if we were entering customs, our actions might seem a bit absurd, but they would, however, be in harmony with the rules and the order of things, This transparent suitcase can logically become a window which displays the privileging of this Chinese art sample and which fully utilizes the symbolic resources. Through this window one can effectively judge and distinguish the politics and cultural identity of the region, eliminating the possibility of considering the constant flux of the regional culture from another angle. Is this an effective interchange with the marginal culture as guaranteed by Western multiculturalism?

Shi Yong
1996. 8  Shanghai

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