All under heaven: An introduction to maps and mapping in contemporary Chinese art | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 2, Issue 2-3
  • ISSN: 2051-7041
  • E-ISSN: 2051-705X



Both the noun and the verb ‘map’ appear often in artist statements, catalogue entries and other forms of text that accompany contemporary art. However, articles and survey exhibitions that trace the rise of this theme have not yet in any great detail investigated it within the context of Chinese contemporary art. ‘The map’ forms an urgent lens with which to investigate Chinese works because within this theme can be found some of the most resonant discourses in East Asian modern and contemporary art – in particular, identity, environmentalism, translocalism, Debord’s psychogeography and Pratt’s ‘contact zone’. This article will focus on examining the theme in relation to the key words landscape, environmentalism and identity; identifying the period in which landscape and map-work aligned in Chinese art history; and demonstrating how contemporary Chinese artists have utilized the map and mapping to articulate the layers of their experience as Chinese nationals or artists of the Chinese diaspora.


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