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  • Value creation: Russian and Chinese oil painting markets 1980s-2018

Burkardt, Svetlana, 2022, Thesis, Value creation: Russian and Chinese oil painting markets 1980s-2018 PhD thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

The research focuses on the little-studied field of value creation within the contemporary art markets in Russia and China from their emergence in the late 1980s, through their marketisation in the 1990s to their maturation in the 2000s. Over the last three decades both Russian and Chinese art markets have undergone dramatic changes. Where there was previously a formal division between ‘official’ and ‘unofficial’ art, both have now become highly desirable commodities, with many Russian and Chinese artists becoming stars and fetching millions of dollars at worldwide auctions. The art value hierarchies have been in a constant state of flux ever since. Some of the artists from the early movements continue to enjoy institutional and commercial success. A few have already been forgotten, with the value of their artworks depreciating significantly.

A key question then arises: How was Russian and Chinese art value created through the system of relations among the positions of artists, collectors, curators, critics, auctioneers, dealers, experts and various art organisations? While there are art-historical texts and narratives that address elements of this question, the research draws upon a series of personal interviews with some of the key players within the fields that provide in-depth understanding and analysis of art value creation during different stages of art market development.

The research offers broader perspectives not only for professional art market participants and scholars, but also for a wider audience interested in the processes of valorisation, legitimisation and consecration of art in the emerging markets. Particular attention has been paid to the crucial role played by the USSR, China’s ‘big brother’, in establishing the Chinese official art system and educating many Chinese realist artists who went on to become important actors within the official art establishment. The Soviet influence on several generations of Chinese artists remains an important under-studied aspect of art value creation in China which boasts the world’s third largest art market today.

Building on the seminal concepts of habitus, field, capital and the theory of judgement devices, a unique relational database consisting of over 20,000,000 data points was developed to analyse selected artists’ performance from 1986 until 2018, based on their auction sales (economic capital) and exhibition history (symbolic and social capital). By synthesising the results from the quantitative analysis with the qualitative data from 70+ interviews and extensive secondary research, the thesis contributes to the understanding of value creation paradigms and offers new viewpoints in contemporary economic sociology on the relations between economic phenomena and social networks in the emerging art markets in the era of cultural globalisation.

Qualification Name: PhD
Subjects: Other > Historical and Philosophical studies > V300 History by topic > V350 History of Art
Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art
Creative Arts and Design > W900 Others in Creative Arts and Design
School or Centre: School of Arts & Humanities
Uncontrolled Keywords: Russia; China; Art Market; Value
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2022 11:36
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2022 11:36
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/5027
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