Book Launch: The Conformed Body: Contemporary Art in China

The book launch for Professor Jiang Jiehong’s The Conformed Body: Contemporary Art in China, published by Brill, will include a presentation by Professor Jiang Jiehong (Birmingham City University), remarks by Professor Chris Berry (King’s College London) and Dr Wenny Teo (The Courtauld Institute of Art), and a panel conversation moderated by Dr Panpan Yang (SOAS University of London).

Sample books will also be available.

The event is part of SOAS East Asian Research Seminar (EARS). It is free and open to all. But booking is essential. Click to Book. 


About the new book
Through the perspective of the ‘conformed body’, this groundbreaking book examines the role in art of everyday conformist practices in the People’s Republic of China, such as mass assemblies and bodily trainings and exercises, as well as their impact on people’s perceptions and collective memories. It identifies related artworks, reassesses artistic interpretations with critical reflections, and explores a key origin of artistic productions in post-Mao China. Featuring 200 colour illustrations, the book discusses works by more than 30 internationally acclaimed Chinese contemporary artists, including Ai Weiwei, Geng Jianyi, Song Dong, Xu Bing, Zhang Peili and Zhang Xiaogang.


About the main speakers
Jiang Jiehong is Professor of Chinese Art, Director of the Centre for Chinese Visual Arts, Birmingham City University, and Principal Editor of the Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art (Intellect). Jiang has been Lead Curator for many international exhibitions including the Guangzhou Triennial: The Unseen (2012), the Asia Triennial Manchester: Harmonious Society (2014), and the First Thailand Biennale: Edge of the Wonderland (Krabi, 2018-19). Jiang’s recent book publications include An Era without Memory: Chinese Contemporary Photography on Urban Transformation (2015), The Art of Contemporary China (2021) and The Otherness of the Everyday: 12 Conversations from the Chinese Art World during the Covid-19 Pandemic (2021).

Chris Berry is Professor of Film Studies at King’s College London. In the 1980s, he worked for China Film Import and Export Corporation in Beijing, and his academic research is grounded in work on audio-visual media of the Sinosphere. Books include: Cinema and the National: China on Screen; Postsocialist Cinema in Post-Mao China: the Cultural Revolution after the Cultural Revolution; Chinese Film Festivals: Sites of Translation; Routledge Handbook of East Asian Popular Culture; Public Space, Media Space; The New Chinese Documentary Film Movement: For the Public Record; and Electronic Elsewheres: Media, Technology, and Social Space.

Wenny Teo is a specialist in modern and contemporary art, with a particular emphasis on China and Chinese diasporas in transnational and global contexts. She is currently a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Modern and Contemporary Art at The Courtauld Institute of Art. Her writing has been published in numerous academic journals, exhibition catalogues and art magazines.

Panpan Yang is Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in the arts and visual cultures of modern China at SOAS University of London. From 2023 to 2025, she is the Principal Investigator of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded research project on calligraphic imagination in contemporary art and emerging media. With Jiang Jiehong, she is co-editing a special issue of the Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art on the moving image. She is also the co-founder of Small Gallery, an experimental art space in North London.

Event Location
The event will take place at Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre (BGLT) within the SOAS Brunei Gallery.

Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1B 5DQ
The SOAS Brunei Gallery is located between Malet Street and Thornhaugh Street, in the north-west corner of Russell Square. The Gallery is a five minute walk from the British Museum.

The book event is part of SOAS East Asian Research Seminar (EARS). We gratefully acknowlege the support from the Centre for Chinese Visual Arts (CCVA), Birmingham City University, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), SOAS School of Arts, the SOAS-Alphawood Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art, and SOAS China Institute.

Click to Book the Event


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