Universiteit Leiden

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PhD project

Art beyond Japan: Contemporary art in the politics of translation

Investigation of 1.) The whereabouts of the epistemological dissonances in art criticisms on Post-war contemporary art from Japan between two different language realms, in this case in English and Japanese; and 2.) What the dissonances disclose, disturb, and contribute in the process of the establishment of world art history.

Contact
Takako Kondo
Funding
The Kajima Foundation for the Arts/Research Subsidy for the Arts (2)

This dissertation is a critical investigation of knowledge production of the notion of “contemporary Japanese art” in both English and Japanese language realms. This study approaches to the formation of the notion as a discursive construction in the interest of various cultural-ideological intentions on the backdrop of the emerging discipline of World Art History. Paying close attention to art historical, critical, and artistic enunciations in/on contemporary art of/from/in Japan since the 1950s proposing artistic notions and epistemic conditions that are ulterior to the traditional Western notion of fine arts, this study argues that there is a structure which buries these enunciations, whereas serving “transparency” on the idea of contemporary art of/from/in Japan as a culturally and artistically unified entity. The structure, this study seeks to expose, is translation. In the present era of globalization, it is unthinkable for art historians and critics to pursue their scholarly studies without employing any translation; however, this study takes issue with the translational practice in art criticism, as an operation at stake. This dissertation is a transdisciplinary undertaking that takes its place at the crossroad of Art History, Comparative Literature, Translation Studies, and Cultural Studies.

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