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Contemporary Chinese Aesthetics

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Edited By Zhu Liyuan and Gene Blocker

This book is a collection of translations of recent work by contemporary Chinese aestheticians. Because of the relative isolation of China until recently, little is known of this rich and ongoing aesthetics tradition in China. Although some of the articles are concerned with the traditional ancient Chinese theories of art and beauty, many are inspired by Western aesthetics, including Marxism, and all are involved in cross-cultural comparisons of Chinese and Western aesthetic traditions.

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Art and Image: Hu Jingzhi 267

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Art and Image Hu Jingzhi The artistic image is the special way art reflects reality. It is easy to cite numerous examples of images in art by mentioning figures, situations, things and stories which commonly occur in almost all art works. The problem with presenting these examples is that they seem to be the same sorts of things we confront in daily life outside of art. This is not very helpful since it gives the false impression that art simply mirrors reality and that artistic images are simply repetitions or imitations of objects and events from real life. So, merely listing examples is no substitute for explaining in theory what an artistic image is and how it differs from the reality which it reflects or represents. Just as ideology is not reality, so an artistic image is not a real life phenomenon. At the same time, just as ideology is related somehow to reality, so the artistic image is nonetheless connected somehow with real life. But how exactly? That is the important question facing us-what is an artistic image, how does it differ from the reality which it reflects or represents, and how are the two related? Art reflects life by means of images, but not all images reflecting life are art. Science, educational films, TV news, geographical picture albums, maps and globes-all reflect and represent concrete objects in real life. Even where these representations are extremely detailed and life-like, and even where they are beautifully or "artfully" done, as...

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