CCAA | Chinese Contemporary Art Award

Chapters 2 › Unit 2: Create a journal entry: Engaging with art View instructions Hide instructions

Create a journal entry: Engaging with art


How does engaging with art help us to better understand Chinese society?

Share your experiences and have a look a the journals of other participants.
Feel free to comment.

Engaging with art as a Touch of Zeitgeist.


If we consider art as reflecting accurately the current state of the culture in which it is created, then CCA is certainly one instrument (among others) for understanding the Chinese state, its culture and society.

As I wrote in my previous entry, it gives a "Zeitgeist", a spirit of the time, a dominant set of ideals and beliefs that motivate the actions of the members of a society in a particular period in time.

The source of all art is based on feelings and emotions that the artists are experiencing while they are in the process of creation. As we are one specie, emotions and feelings have this ability to be universally understood.
The feelings and emotions are reflecting an important part of reality (if not the most important one).
Paying attention to this part of reality helps to better understand the world and then the society that we live in.

Being engaged with art and artists gives a deep inside of their feelings, their emotions and naturally of the reality of the society itself.
Artists are not only a reflection of their time, they are often on the forefront of the society. Being on the edge, ahead of their time, they are sometimes the most daring and courageous ones, expressing themselves, materializing their feelings when others choose to restraint their emotions.
Visionaires in many ways, they help at their own risks, to understand before others what is coming, giving a lead, culminating the overall situation.
Therefore, they are able to bring different perspectives giving sometimes point of views which are only massively accepted/understood decades later.

In this particular case, I think that building hundreds (if not thousands) of friendships with Chinese artists, must have certainly helped Mr Sigg to not only understand the reality of Chinese society through the artists feelings and artworks, but also to be ahead of the society, in the forefront and to fulfill successfully his different missions, commercially with Schindler and politically as a Swiss ambassador.

The immersion in the Chinese culture without speaking the language, in the 70's where nothing was translated, must have been a significant challenge. Understanding the Chinese society, its culture and forecast what will be its future still is very challenging today.

Like the publicist Tess Flanders said: "a picture is worth a thousand words."

Well, I don't know if Mr Sigg speaks or not Mandarin, but thanks to the M+/Sigg collection and his numerous friends engaged in art, he has accumulated a vast knowledge of the country, its people, culture and politics, which certainly enable him to understand the Chinese culture better that most us, and certainly even natives.

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