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Talk: A Double Sense of an Artistic Revolution
Date: 3 February 2010 

School of Modern Languages and Cultures French Talk

A Double Sense of an Artistic Revolution: Doubt, Time and Violence in the Jintian School of Poetry and the Xingxing Painting Group in 1970s China

Professor Jin Siyan
University of Artois, France

Few of its readers realised that the appearance of Jintian [Today] in Beijing on 23 December 1978, containing poems by Bei Dao, Mang Ke, Cai Qijiao and Shu Ting, marked the beginning of a great adventure in contemporary Chinese poetry.
A thousand copies of this mimeographed magazine were distributed in Beijing, affixed page by page to the walls of a major intersection in the western district. Alongside them were a group of painters who shared their aspirations, calling themselves the Xingxing [Stars] group. Jintian opened a space in which painters as well as poets could express themselves. A central issue was the enigma of individual subjectivity, which found expression in three key points:
1. Art is not simply a mirror which reflects the outside world but depicts a significant and particular moment in history. It presents a collective aspiration in new creative forms that offer insight into individual mentalities.
2. Poetry and painting are both creations of artists expressing their individual selves.
3. The Jintian poets and the Xingxing painters provoked a crisis in realistic values, calling attention to the existence of different kinds of realities. Claiming that art lends itself to an infinity of interpretation, these revolutionaries of the mind embraced the principles of ambiguity and uncertainty. A radical change was taking shape in Chinese culture.

Jin Siyan is a Professor and Director of the Chinese Studies Department at the University of Artois, France. Her research focuses on Chinese literature and poetry, and the reception of the West in China. Jin Siyan is also co-ordinator with Yue Daiyun of Dialogue Transculturel (Beijing University) and chief editor of the French-Chinese collection Proches-Lointains. Her most recent publications include L’écriture subjective dans la littérature chinoise contemporaine - Devenir je (2005, Paris, Maisonneuve et Larose) and L'écriture féminine chinoise du XXe siècle à nos jours (2009, Editions You Feng).

Wednesday, February 3, 2010
5:15pm - 6:45pm
Room TS303 (T.T. Tsui Building)
The University of Hong Kong

The talk will be conducted in English
All are welcome

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