CHRIS THURMAN: Attempting to better understand artistic exchange
The Running exhibition in China is a foray into educating visitors about the diversity of global art
The past two years have not been particularly good for China’s global image. The repugnance of Trumpian references to “the China virus”, thick with yellow-peril bigotry, made many of us err on the side of resisting the denigration of Chinese people — perhaps at the cost of criticising the Chinese government. But there’s no question that the authoritarian regime’s prevention of Chinese scientists from sharing what they knew about SARS-CoV-2 resulted in thousands of deaths and aggravated the many severe consequences of the subsequent Covid-19 pandemic.
Aside from a reignited Sinophobia via the joking-not-joking discourse of the “Wuhan Flu” (thanks Borat), there are other reasons for China’s branding problem. When I heard about the participation of SA gallery Guns & Rain in an exhibition taking place at the Qingdao Art Museum — Qingdao is a large port city midway between Beijing and Shanghai — a series of unflattering associations came to mind...