Parody and Appropriation

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  • Title: Parody and Appropriation: European Art Traditions in the Digital Media Art of China
  • Author(s): Jean Ippolito
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: The Arts in Society
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of the Arts in Society: Annual Review
  • Keywords: Digital Media, Parody, Appropriation, Contemporary Art, Chinese Art
  • Volume: 5
  • Issue: 4
  • Year: 2010
  • ISSN: 1833-1866 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2473-5809 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/1833-1866/CGP/v05i04/35880
  • Citation: Ippolito, Jean. 2010. "Parody and Appropriation: European Art Traditions in the Digital Media Art of China." The International Journal of the Arts in Society: Annual Review 5 (4): 183-190. doi:10.18848/1833-1866/CGP/v05i04/35880.
  • Extent: 8 pages

Abstract

What motivates contemporary Chinese artists to make virtual parodies of masterpieces from Western European tradition? Is it a desire to inhabit the illusionistic space of these paintings, to explore the work from many angles? Or is it to change the conceptual message, and update a well-known theme? These questions are explored in works that give the viewer a new way of experiencing an old image: Theodore Gericault’s Raft of the Medusa is the prototype for Hu Jieming’s version, which is made from Coca-Cola cans and Pepsi bottles, with Chinese workers, soldiers, officials and people of all walks of life as passengers. It raises the question of whether the economic and political decisions of the Chinese government will keep the country afloat. The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp by Rembrandt is the basis for Du Zhenjun’s Anatomy Lesson, which makes the viewer the medical instructor while the artist’s own duplicated image appears in multiple, completely engaged, waiting for instruction, each time the viewer approaches the table. In The Fountain, the artist, Du Zhenjun, does a parody of Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain of 1917. In the case of Du, the fountain is not a utilitarian piece of porcelain purchased from a hardware store – it is a videotaped toilet bowl. Miao Xiaochun’s Last Judgment in Cyberspace does not just parody, but appropriates exact positions and poses of the original fresco by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel. He interactively includes the viewer in various positions and perspectives. Many of the works described in this article are interactive, and for each of the digital media artists mentioned, their personal websites are cited for the reader to access for illustrating the works described within.