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The Confucius City and its Museum

Jingyuan Huang
Artists' Books
13 × 20 × 0.1 cm

Adopting the format of a visitors guide, the book “Confucius City and its Museum ” offers a fake guide to a fake city.

Considered through their visual qualities alone, the visitors guide presents Confucius City as a new social environment: a comedy unfolding in an anarchistic land with a surreal class structure. The body politic is portrayed by nude figures juxtaposed with stereotypically “official” faces against backgrounds variously composed of contemporary Chinese urban scenes, Buddhist and Hindu religious iconography, and rural landscapes. By extending the visual narrative into absurd social and quasi-religious context, I seek to highlight the instability of these government ventures, their lack of naturalism, and their cultural unsustainability.

This visual message is complicated by and sometimes contrasts to the texts, which are purposefully written with a strong, communist-related cultural perspective and style. The project does not provide an artistic analogy to the revised status of Confucianism within contemporary China. Rather, it explores the continuing problems inherent in the appropriation and manipulation of historical records, traditions, and philosophical discourses in the service of a state government (which could be anywhere) in shaping of national identity.

Jing Yuan Huang was born and raised in Mainland China. She received a BFA from Concordia University in 2005 and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2008. Major projects include a series of mixed-media paintings “Anachronism”, and “Transmigrating Inadequacy, “ comprised of site-specific murals and architectural elements created from xerox-printed enlargements of digital scans of photograms of original drawings. “Transmigrating” has exhibited in Chicago, Berlin, and across Canada. After her partial return to China in 2009, she started “Confucius City,” an installation work taking as its subject the activities, and events in an imagined city. She is also co-founder/director of Where Where Art Space, an artist run space in Beijing.

  1. The Confucius City and its Museum

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