Session Abstract: Recent scholarship on the history of commercial publishing in Republican China has highlighted significant roles of industrial printing and organization in mediating between literary elites and the reading public. Yet it did not fully address how the power of visual components, one distinct feature of industrial books since the 1920s, contributed to heterogeneous cultural expressions. This panel foregrounds modern Chinese art interventions to explore more diverse modes of book production in the twentieth century. By presenting case studies on specific book materials, it interrogates how particular forms and content of their material and intermedial presence comment on critical issues of nationalism, transnationalism, and the diaspora. For 1920s China, Chen Xiaowei explores how the bookbinding of independent publications by artistic and literary groups shaped intimate reading experience while Ren Wei examines the depiction of the female nude in graphic medium and how the fine art subject was adopted to create transnational visual idioms of symbolist art. Felicity Lufkin analyzes debates over serial picture books and popular readership in 1930s Shanghai in literary and artistic circles. Xinyue (Lulu) Yuan turns to artist Lang Jingshan's photobooks published between the 1920s and 1940s to examine how they were shaped by national and international audiences. Contemporary artist Ian Boyden considers his artist book Peach Blossom Fish with poet and calligrapher Zhang Chonghe (1914-2015) in the context of the Chinese diaspora. Last, Michel Hockx discusses what stakes the intersection of art, literature, and the book bring to the interdisciplinary field of print culture in modern China.
Paper Presenter: Xinyue Yuan – The Ph.D. Program in Visual Studies, University of California, Irvine
Paper Presenter: Ren Wei – Dickinson College
Paper Presenter: Ian Boyden – Ian Boyden Studios
Paper Presenter: Xiaowei Chen
Paper Presenter: Felicity Lufkin – Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University