Parallel Realities: The Relationship Between Translation Studies and Curating Contemporary Chinese Art

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article explores how recent trends in translation studies have aligned the discipline closer to the practise of curating contemporary Chinese art in the UK. The idea of ‘translation' within the field of visual art is two-fold. ‘Translation' can be used as a broad term to describe the practise of communicating meaning; and the presentation of art also utilises various forms of written text, which in the case of Chinese contemporary art may be a translation from the original Chinese text or spoken word. This article will incorporate both definitions of translation, referring to the theories of Susan Basnett, André Lefevere and Panagiotis Sakellariou regarding translation studies; Richard E Nisbett regarding worldviews; and Christopher Whitehead and Paul O’Neill regarding the interpretation and curation of contemporary art. In addition, it will draw on interviews with five cultural producers involved in the production, curation and critique of Chinese contemporary art. Based on these sources, it will propose some tactics that could help to preserve the Chinese artist's ‘voice’ when their work is presented outside of the PRC.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
JournalModern China Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


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