To­ward an Aes­thetic of Sur­faces

Writ­ten by an­drew bolton( bri­tain ), trans­lated byhu yang Pub­lished by hi na books/ hun an fine arts pub­lish­ing house, Septem­ber2017

China Pictorial (English) - - Contents - Edit­ed­byzhao­miao)

For cen­turies, China has be­come known to the world through its cul­tural ar­ti­facts rang­ing from jade ware and porce­lains to its movies of the last few decades, which have greatly in­spired West­ern fash­ion.

In 2015, the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Mu­seum of Art in the United States held a fash­ion ex­hi­bi­tion ti­tled “China: Through the Look­ing Glass,” fea­tur­ing haute cou­ture and avant-garde ready-to-wear pieces in­spired by Chi­nese cul­ture and flanked by the his­tory of Chi­nese gar­ments and mas­ter­pieces of Chi­nese and for­eign art.

This book is a col­lec­tion of 200 ex­quis­ite pic­tures from the ex­hi­bi­tion taken by em­i­nent Bri­tish pho­tog­ra­pher Pla­ton An­to­niou, pro­vid­ing a glimpse of the clothes, paint­ings, porce­lains, and movies at the ex­hi­bi­tion—an in­ter­ac­tion be­tween Chi­nese cul­ture and West­ern fash­ion and imag­i­na­tion. With im­ages as its me­dia, the book con­sists of two parts. The first was ti­tled af­ter From Em­peror to Cit­i­zen: The Au­to­bi­og­ra­phy of Aisin-gioro Pu Yi pub­lished in 1964. It fea­tures fash­ion de­signs in­spired by Em­peror Xuan­tong, China’s last em­peror, span­ning the Qing Dy­nasty (1644-1911), the Re­pub­lic of China era (1912-1949), and the Peo­ple’s Re­pub­lic of China, in­clud­ing many pieces that ex­erted in­flu­ence on West­ern de­sign­ers such as the robes of the Manchus, mod­ern qi­pao or cheongsam, and the Mao suit.

The sec­ond part was named af­ter L’em­pire des Signes af­ter the 1970 book by Roland Barthes. It fea­tures West­ern fash­ion fused with iconic Chi­nese cul­ture, such as dragons, Chi­nese char­ac­ters and pat­terns of blue and white porce­lain.

The book also in­cludes ar­ti­cles by renowned Chi­nese and for­eign artists, such as An­drew Bolton, cu­ra­tor of the ex­hi­bi­tion, and Hong Kong film di­rec­tor Wong Kar-wai, on their un­der­stand­ing of fash­ion, art and movies, in ad­di­tion to an An­drew Bolton in­ter­view with dis­tin­guished Bri­tish fash­ion de­signer John Gal­liano.

“With im­ages as me­dia, we aimed to es­tab­lish new ideas about the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the East and the West in the form of a di­a­logue,” ex­plains Bolton.

“The im­ages in the book span sev­eral cen­turies of ex­quis­ite West­ern fash­ion, art and movies, cul­mi­nat­ing in a won­der­ful mi­rage of China,” com­mented Christo­pher Lyon, a well-known French writer, in the jour­nal Book­fo­rum.

Au­thor An­drew Bolton grad­u­ated from the Bri­tish Univer­sity of East Anglia with a mas­ter’s de­gree. He worked for the Vic­to­ria and Al­bert Mu­seum in London for nine years and joined the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Mu­seum of Art in 2002. He cur­rently serves as chief cu­ra­tor of the mu­seum’s Col­lege of Fash­ion. Over the last few years, Bolton has or­ga­nized sev­eral fash­ion ex­hi­bi­tions, pub­lished many books, and con­trib­uted to art and fash­ion pub­li­ca­tions.

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