WEEK ONE: 14-18 July 2014

Course 8: Dr Katie Hill

Contemporary  Chinese Art: Practices and Debates from 1989 to the Present



detail, photo, group of people in frieze-like formation in a park, holding images of Ai Weiwei's head in front of their own faces

Protest "Alle für Ai Weiwei", dOCUMENTA 13, photo © Kritiker9

This course offers a survey of contemporary Chinese art starting with the first major exhibition held in Beijing in 1989. We will focus on movements in contemporary art concurrent with rapid urbanisation and economic developments in China during the 1990s.  The course will trace China’s relationship with the international art world as it emerged during a decade of globalisation, and explore the Chinese avant-garde’s quest to find a distinct artistic voice. Following decades of Socialist Realism, contemporary Chinese art is characterised by a diversification of media and by the re-emergence of classical forms and ideas in art practice. We will consider a wide range of artistic expression, from photography, installation, and performance to painting and sculpture. Finally, the course will cover the phenomenon of the new Chinese art world that emerged at the turn of the millennium and evolved rapidly with the rise of art districts, new museums, auction houses and galleries.  Throughout, we will focus closely on works by a number of key artists, including Yang Fudong, Ai Weiwei and Zeng Fanzhi, and place the development of contemporary Chinese art, and its relations to the international art world in the context of the country’s challenging political and cultural situation. 

WEEK TWO: 21-25 July 2014

Course 16: Dr Antonia Gatward Cevizli

The Art of the Sultans: Ottoman Art and Architecture

This course is now FULL

photo close up of dome and spires of Sultan Ahmed Mosque Istanbul
Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Istanbul, photograph © Jeremy Avnet

The skyline of Istanbul is one of the most recognisable in the world. However, the Ottoman artistic tradition tends to be less widely known. This course traces the most significant developments of Ottoman art and architecture from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries. From the Green Mosque in the former Ottoman capital of Bursa, we will progress to Edirne and then on to that great prize: Istanbul. The Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453 was a major turning point, changing the way the Ottomans saw themselves and how they were regarded by others. Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror initiated the city’s makeover, which transformed it into the capital of the Ottoman Empire. Our exploration of the art of the sultans will introduce us to patrons of the arts, such as Süleyman the Magnificent, the architect Sinan (often referred to as ‘the Michelangelo of the East’), and the most impressive sites of Istanbul, including the Topkapi Palace and the Süleymaniye Mosque. We will discover Ottoman carpets in the paintings of the National Gallery and explore the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Museum’s collections of textiles, Iznik ceramics and metalwork as well as coming face-to-face with Gentile Bellini’s portrait of Sultan Mehmed II.

WEEK FOUR: 4-8 August 2014

Course 29: Dr Mehreen Chida-Razvi

Painting for the Emperor: The Creation of a Mughal Style


detail of a rurbaned head
Attributed to Abu'l Hasan, The Emperor Jahangir triumphing over Death, detail, c. 1620-5, watercolour, From the Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck Collection, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Tracing their lineage from both Ghengis Khan and Timur, the Mughal dynasty which ruled over most of South Asia from 1526 to 1857, created one of the most luxurious empires of their time. As an Islamic elite reigning over a local South Asian population, it was important for the Mughal emperors to create a strong visual identity to consolidate their rule. They invested in extensive patronage of the arts and the royal atelier produced magnificent paintings. This course will explore the creation of the distinctive Mughal style of painting, focusing on images produced for the emperors Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan. We will examine the impact of Persian, European and local South Asian painting on the Mughal style, as well as the importance of portraiture and naturalism in Mughal painting. In addition, we will investigate how the political and social circumstances of the time, the personalities of the emperors, and the introduction of Christian art to the realm affected the atelier's production. While focusing on works on paper, we will also explore the use of painting on a larger scale as architectural decoration. Visits will include the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum and the British Library.