Dr Ros Holmes

I am interested in the interaction between high and low, popular and elite forms of cultural production in China. I am currently completing my first book, provisionally entitled ‘The Art of Incivility: Rudeness and Representation in Post-Socialist China’. The book offers a visually rich investigation of the ways in which artists have deployed incivility as a means to lay competitive claim to disciplinary narratives about China’s cultural history. From the rude, to the shocking, to the subtly profane, it establishes how contested visualizations of civility challenge long term assumptions about China’s cultural landscape from the reform period to the present.

My current research project builds on one aspect of this study, exploring China’s online culture and the defining role that image making is coming to assume within this sphere. Entitled ‘The Mediated Image’ the project examines how artists are increasingly using digital media to disseminate their work to new audiences. Revealing the existence of a creative, humorous, but also socially and politically critical ‘China online,’ which frequently locates itself outside of the intellectual discourse surrounding state censorship and contemporary art, the project explores aspects of visual culture at the forefront of modern and contemporary encounters between China and the wider world. 


  • Meanwhile in China … Miao Ying and the Rise of Chinternet Ugly

  • The Modernization of Chinese Art: The Shanghai Art College, 1913–1937 Jane Zheng Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2016 416 pp. €69.50; $75.00 ISBN 978-9-46270056-7

  • The Uses of the Future: Contemporary Art in the Digital Domain

  • Pop Goes the Avant-Garde: Experimental Theatre in Contemporary China, by Rossella Ferrari. London: Seagull Books, 2012. xviii + 365 pp. Rs595.00/US$24.00 (paperback).

  • Pillars of fat: The corporeal aesthetics of civilization (Wenming) in contemporary art

  • More
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