An understanding of the cultural and historical context of contemporary art is crucial for its understanding and analysis. In this essay, significant historical events impacting on Chinese culture and Chinese art are examined to provide insight into the context of contemporary Chinese art and culture. A range of contemporary Chinese art, including Chinese avant-garde works, contemporary traditional panting, cynical art, consumerism in art and the art of Chinese abroad, are closely appraised in chronological order. Concepts, styles, techniques and influences of art are all considered in order to identify patterns in art that reflect changes in Chinese cultural identity. It has been concluded that Chinese contemporary art reflects changing identity most notably through the level of diversity of art concepts, styles and techniques, as this represents the extent of individual freedom within society, and because of this freedom, a concrete and universal cultural identity does not exist.
In this year of 2014, Shelley Zhao is a Year 12 student at John Paul College. This Extended Essay is part of her International Baccalaureate Program.