Territories Disrupted: Asian Art after 1989

A four-part report on this symposium, which explored Asian art after 1989 with a focus on how political and economic changes corresponded with changes in artistic practice and its reception, by Annie Jael Kwan, Mia Yu, Abhijan Gupta and Midori Yamamura.

The symposium was held on 4 and 5 April 2017 at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) in Seoul, South Korea, jointly organised by Tate Research Centre: Asia and the MMCA. Among the issues addressed were democratic movements and their challenges; the questioning of the binary of cold war ideologies; the impact of globalisation arising from the increased economic prosperity of the period; and the proliferation of the representation of non-Western art in exhibition making on global platforms and the emergence of a new generation of artists as well as feminist practice in Asia.

This report is divided into four sections, each written by recipients of the Tate Research Centre: Asia Travel Grant award, which provided funds for early career scholars and curators to attend the symposium.

Territories Disrupted: Asian Art after 1989, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA), Seoul, South Korea, 4–5 April 2017


Annie Jael Kwan reflects on the intertwined spatio-temporal narratives presented at the symposium. Just as the singularity of ‘Asia’ was contested, the year 1989 as a turning point for global contemporary art was also complicated. This ‘temporal territory’ was disrupted through an examination of the diverse local historical developments and contexts of the period.

Neither ‘Asia’ nor ‘1989’ escaped critical reassessment at the symposium Territories Disrupted: Asian Art after 1989. While the various presentations outlined the socio-political changes interlinked with artistic development in different geographies of Asia from the same temporal period – including Japan, Korea, Australia, South-east and South Asia – the designation of ‘after’ also provided an opportunity to examine the connections with the oft-cited temporal landmark for the beginning of global contemporary art.

Read the full text here.

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