Appropriation of historical sites has been an important issue since antiquity. This paper analyses some significant works that Chinese artists produced to represent the changes of historical sites across China’s 1949 transition, when the Communist Party came to power. I present the complex relationships between architectural construction and visual representation that reconfigures the space in two-dimensional surface. The paper also explores the cultural mechanisms for borrowing indigenous and foreign architectural practices as well as visual vocabularies in formulating the political discourse. It addresses the role of artists as producers of new revolutionary art vis-à-vis the contrasting ways of life imaging, that of collectivity and that of individuality, in socialist China.
Response: Katharina Lorenz (Nottingham/Cologne)