[ISEA2016] Curator Statement: Jeffrey Shaw, Hsieh Chun-ko, Kuo Chen-wo & Hwang Wang-hwa (Curators) — Giuseppe Castiglione – Lang-Shining New Media Art Exhibition

Curators Statement

ISEA2016 Parallel Programme. Venue City University of Hong Kong

Giuseppe Castiglione – Lang-Shining New Media Art Exhibition” combines analog and digital technologies to present the masterpieces of Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766), an Italian Jesuit missionary who became a highly influential painter at the imperial court of the Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong Emperors. This exhibition results from a unique collaboration between City University of Hong Kong and the National Palace Museum, representing a milestone in cultural exchange between Taiwan and Hong Kong.The exhibition’s innovative design combines historical artworks, new media and contemporary interactive art to create a compelling, multi-sensory, visitor experience. Full-size facsimiles of Castiglione’s paintings, famous for their merging of Eastern and Western styles, are presented side by side with creative, digital interpretations of these works. The result is a fascinating meeting of traditional and contemporary models of representation.
The presence of Jesuits such as Castiglione, both in Beijing and in other major Chinese cities, resulted in new artistic practices and in a sharing of Eastern and Western philosophical, scientific, and artistic knowledge. In the “Castiglione in Context” section, the exhibition makes visible, through porcelains, prints, paintings, and publications, the intellectual and artistic exchanges occurring between European Jesuit missionaries and the late Ming and Qing courts from the seventeenth through to the twentieth centuries.
The exhibition’s engaging and stimulating synthesis of historical works, media art and cutting-edge technology represents a benchmark for public museum experiences in the new digital era.

Castiglione In Context
This accompanying exhibition enables visitors to understand the intellectual and cultural context within which Giuseppe Castiglione (Lang-Shining) produced his highly influential artwork. Through prints, early books, porcelain, and paintings, viewers can see the significant role played by Jesuit missionaries, such as Castiglione, in the late Ming and Qing dynasties. Invited by the emperors, Castiglione and other Jesuits put their scientific and artistic skills to work for the imperial court. Their presence both inside and outside of the Beijing court initiated the first sharing of Eastern and Western philosophical and scientific knowledge as well as the development of new artistic practices. While the Jesuits introduced European artistic naturalism and perspective to the Chinese court artists, they in turn exposed the Jesuits to new artistic technologies such as silk-making and porcelain. The exhibition demonstrates this ongoing exchange in Chinese porcelains made for European export with European forms and scenes; in translations of seminal texts into each other’s languages (Euclid and Confucius shown here); in the production of the first topographic map of a country; and of course in Castiglione’s famous paintings, which blend European naturalism and Chinese landscape aesthetic. The exhibition concludes with the 1938 “Portrait of Matteo Ricci,” attributed to Xu Beihong, testifying to the significance of the Jesuit influence through the twentieth century.策展人Curator:范懿莎博士Dr. Isabelle Frank


We would like to thank the following institutions for generously loaning objects for the exhibition:

香港大學美術博物館 The University of Hong Kong Museum and Art Gallery

香港大學圖書館 The University of Hong Kong Libraries

香港科技大學 Hong Kong University of Technology and Science

香港中文大學 Chinese University of Hong Kong

香港海事博物館 Hong Kong Maritime Museum

  • Jeffrey Shaw (AU/HK), City University of Hong Kong
  • Hsieh Chun-ko, Kuo Chen-wo, National Palace Museum, Taiwan
  • Hwang Wang-hwa, Institute for Information Industry, Taiwan