A Distant Dream: Balthus, Henri Michaux, and the Chinese Aesthetic Tradition

Li, Xiaofan Amy (2018) A Distant Dream: Balthus, Henri Michaux, and the Chinese Aesthetic Tradition. Word & Image, 34 (3). pp. 281-296. ISSN 0266-6286. (doi:10.1080/02666286.2018.1460566) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Official URL
https://doi.org/10.1080/02666286.2018.1460566

Abstract

This article examines the relation between twentieth-century artists Balthus, Henri Michaux, and Chinese painting and poetic imagery. The constant echo of a seemingly “Chinese aesthetics” in Balthus’s and Michaux’s works gives rise to a few important questions. How do Balthus’s and Michaux’s creative practices and works engage with and re-invent the Chinese aesthetic tradition? What new understandings of Balthus and Michaux will be revealed if they are seen in the light of Chinese notions about painting, calligraphy, and poetic imagery? What would this say about the relation between artistic influence and creativity, especially in the case of the transformation of aesthetic forms and ideas across cultures and time? By discussing how Balthus’s figurative and landscape paintings relate to the Zhuangzi’s dream imagery and Song dynasty shanshui (mountain–water) paintings, and how Michaux’s ink paintings are integrated into his critical endeavor to break away from Orientalist stereotypes, it is argued that both artists are transformed by the Chinese aesthetic tradition, as well as actively transform how it is understood.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/02666286.2018.1460566
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages (inc film, TV and radio studies)
P Language and Literature > PI Oriental languages and literatures
P Language and Literature > PL Languages and literatures of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN865 Comparative Literature
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages
Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > Comparative Literature
Depositing User: Xiaofan Amy Li
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2018 13:33 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 20:12 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/65789 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Li, Xiaofan Amy: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8053-9927
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