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Diplomatic World_nummer 56.

IDEOLOGY AND ARTISTIC

IDEOLOGY AND ARTISTIC FREEDOM IN CHINA BY PROF. DR. JAN DE MAERE Ratio and empathy are obvious human competencies to resolve problems we confront as products of our evolution in an indifferent universe. But, confronted to the awareness of our identity, the bias provoked by our beliefs and convictions, they lack a strategy to convince us that they are the sole guardians of our values. Well-being includes a personal quest for beauty, freedom and a narrative about the self, related to what we believe is good and beautiful. Imagination and a well-educated intuition are essential tools for happiness. China has an impressive and long standing culture and spiritual dimension in the tradition of Confucianism. Until the sixteenth century, China was the greatest economical power on earth. The discovery of the Americas and the development of science in the Western world put a hold on this, exaggerated later by the colonial powers at the beginning of the twentieth century. China felt this as a humiliation. Today, China is back in the picture as an economical and financial powerbroker. How did this affect the arts? From a neural and philosophical point of view, everything perceived as such, is “Art”, a creative analogy of reality perceived in different degrees of intensity by the beholder. This illusion of the brain produces a kind of placebo effect, changing the beholder’s brain activity by activating his personal interpretation of it. We evaluate those artful illusions and abstract mind concepts in function of the self and the context of our experiences. It is impossible to satisfy definitely this expectation, always aiming for a higher emotional impact. Unconsciously, we compare each situation with myriads of others; otherwise, we would be lost in an indifferent world. A country’s political system and its respect for universal human values are a dominating factor for the context of the expression of artists. Can art flower in an ideological constraint context? expression of art by Chinese artists is a marginal and mostly external phenomenon in comparison with the market share of traditional Chinese art in China. Seen from a Chinese perspective, president Xi Jinping is extremely popular since 2013. Sixty two percent of the Chinese are happy with this situation. Recently, he signaled his intent to extend his rule indefinitely, as his predecessor Mao did. Nevertheless, in his country Nobel prize winners die in prison, press is not free, social media suffer from censorship. This does not bother the majority of the Chinese 186 The experiences of Ai Wei Wei, Ghao Bo and others in this context are telling. Nevertheless, the Western international Zhu Wei, Utopia nr 60, 2004

Zhang Xiaogang, Amnesia & Memory, 2003 © Jan De Maere citizens. They see the State and its leader as the guardian of their civilization, giving the president a legitimacy hardly known at this extent in the West. Stability and collective wellbeing in this capitalistic society under autocratic leadership on an ideological basis are more important than Western individualism, privacy, law and political rights. China pirates up to 600 billion $ of US intellectual property rights a year. Europe loses 140 billion € because of the structural bilateral trade deficit with China and sees this not as a threat but as a challenge. Mao and the excesses of his Cultural Revolution were not challenged until after the great leader’s death. Confucianism is a pragmatic oriented moral without abstract principles about the Good and the Bad. In 2011, China took the lead of the world art market for a short time. The international aspect of Chinese Contemporary art became popular everywhere in the West, while traditional Chinese art was sold at even higher record prices in China, a total of 10 billion last year. Two art worlds and art economies at the same time, differing in all their aspects. Chinese art in the Western tradition fell down 40% last year in volume. Christies and Sotheby’s sell 40% of impressionist and modern art to Chinese bidders (cfr Artnet). Half of the Chinese bidders did not pay for their acquisitions in the West. Thirteen thousand auction houses operate in China, mostly at a very low level. The biggest player on the auction field is China Guardian Auctions Co. Ltd., a Chinese pioneer in this area since 1994, catering to local and international buyers. It is named a ‘Trustworthy Enterprise’ by the Government bureau of Commerce and Industry. Sotheby’s and Christie’s compete with Guardian, which is a strong player.There is no global art market, only a complex of niche markets in different worlds. Experiences in life shape the strength of the connections between particular sets of neurons. Emotions are an essential part of intuition, an unconscious-primary thinking process. Each unconscious activity, such as love, starts by the establishment of hierarchy in the incoming information. The action of neurotransmitters (serotonin) transcribes those cues into a time code. Intuition reveals immediately esthetic arousal and acts faster than consciousness and logical reasoning. The constant state of neuronal upheaval (synchronic vibration) created by the object seen, needs a 187

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    56 INTERLINKING POLITICS, DIPLOMACY

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    THE NATURE OF VALUE INTERLINKING PO

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    Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al

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    His Excellency Ambassador Abdulrahm

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    H.E. Zhang Ming (Head of China Miss

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    Ready for your new adventure in Bel

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    H.E. Elena Basile, Ambassador at th

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    H.E. Eleftheria Galathianaki and Ba

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    domestic and foreign affairs. It is

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    they cannot innovate on their own.

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    there struggles to survive. We need

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    values. It was an extraordinary mon

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    wishes come true, after investments

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    © The Central Academy of Fine Arts

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    SHOW THE WORLD YOU ARE THE FUTURE.

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    SHARPER DESIGN AND THREE MODEL VARI

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