This proposed research intends to examine the possible narratives offered by contemporary artists responding to the space of traditional Chinese literati gardens and garden-related traditional literature. With working title ‘The Garden beyond Reality: Chinese Literati Gardens in Contemporary Art’, I hope to explore the values and functions of the literati gardens for modern people through the new narratives created with artistic practice.
The Chinese literati gardens, when they were built, were not only a reprieve for the scholars of past dynasties, but a space of imagination in nature. The activity of building gardens reached its height in Ming and Qing Dynasties, during which time various stories were written with the gardens as their settings. The gardens, together with this body of classical literature, have continued to inspire artists and generate new narratives today. Therefore, this research will be conducted across the disciplines of Chinese literati gardens, classical literature and contemporary art.