Yishu - Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art

The March 2024 Issue Is Now Available

Friday, March 8th, 2024

Editors’ Note

After a two-year hiatus, Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art is making a return. Many of our readers and writers have expressed how much they miss this important publication, the first independent English-language journal on contemporary Chinese art that now has a more than twenty-year history. Our small and dedicated team is exploring ways that we can restore our presence in your lives.

Beginning in 2024, we plan to produce one issue a year, each with a thematic focus. This is not an entirely new direction, Yishu has in the past offered special issues, often guest edited, devoted to symposia, international biennials, specific cities, or regions, as well as timely topics on art, archives, and artist-run initiatives.

Yishu 103 is dedicated to modern ink brush painter Pan Tianshou, who, in 1998, had his first solo exhibition outside of China at the Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG). The exhibition was part of an ambitious city-wide project, Jiangnan: Modern and Contemporary Art from South of the Yangzi River, that consisted primarily of contemporary artists, many of whom have become internationally renowned. While Pan Tianshou’s VAG exhibition was included in the catalogue representing the thirteen participating exhibitions, here we endeavour to more fully showcase the VAG presentation and to explore in depth this seminal twentieth-century ink painter, leaving behind for posterity what we consider is a noteworthy document.

Yishu 103 is divided into distinct but related sections. Dr. Chen Yongyi, Director of the Pan Tianshou Memorial Museum in Hangzhou, offers an introduction to the artist and the museum. Zheng Shengtian, Hank Bull, and Jo-Anne Birnie-Danzker reminisce about the 1998 Vancouver Art Gallery exhibition and their engagement with Pan Tianshou’s work. These texts are complemented by a visual portfolio of all the works presented in the exhibition. Scholars Mina Kim, Zaixin Hong, Britta Erickson, and Pan Gongkai follow this with essays examining the importance of Pan Tianshou and his commitment to ensuring the sustainability of ink painting in the twentieth century. These texts address individual works, the artist’s position within the context of regional traditions inherent to Jiangnan, his legacy as an educator, and his role as a parent and mentor. Rounding it off, three contemporary artists offer very personal reflections on what ink painting means to them. Zheng Chongbin presents ink painting as having evolved into new realms inspired by the philosophy of Pan Tianshou; Bingyi is lyrical in her spiritual musings of shanshui—mountain and water painting—a genre in Chinese art that pertains to some of Pan Tianshou’s work, and Luo Mingjun speaks from her experience in working with ink and paper within a contemporary context.

While Yishu is dedicated to the contemporary period, it has often published texts that cover historical art and artists, such as this issue that honours an artist who passed away in 1971. History does not exist only in the past, but, instead, contributes a valued perspective for better understanding the contemporary moment. In this respect, history is contemporary—we can only view the past from our perspective of the present.

The editors of Yishu 103 have each been involved in the journal’s history, and we sincerely hope that you benefit from the direction that Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art is embarking upon today. Your encouragement is, as always, much appreciated.

Diana Freundl, Keith Wallace, Zheng Shengtian, Editors


Long March Space
cc foundation
Daniels Etheridge
Equinox Gallery
New Asia
US China Yes Youth Eduction Solutions