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For many years, Karolina Pawlik has been studying Shanghai graphic design of the Republican era in relation to the avant-garde experiments abroad, as well as the arts and crafts of imperial China. In this talk she will discuss a selection of designs created in the aesthetic inspired by abstract art and the fast life of a modern metropolis. She will take us on a richly-illustrated journey involving different scripts and cities, including Shanghai, Kazan, Warsaw, and Tokyo, revealing new ways of appreciating Chinese characters and the cultural diversity of scripts in general. How can transcultural interactions become reflected in writing? How did great dreams of a transnational aesthetic emerging beyond the particularities of Chinese, Hebrew or Cyrillic script come true? This talk is meant as an overview of a significant global phenomenon in visual culture of the 1920s and 1930s, which may inspire contemporary graphic designers and publishers.

Karolina Pawlik is an anthropologist, art historian and a poet, who is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Southern California and Jiaotong University's joint Institute of Cultural and Creative Industry. She has lived in Shanghai since 2012, teaching at L'école de design Nantes-Atlantique, Jiaotong University, the ESSCA School of Management, and L'école de Communication Visuelle. Main areas of her research and interest include: transculturality, visual modernism in Shanghai, visual continuity in Chinese design of the 20th century and evolution of writing practices in the 20th and 21st centuries. She holds a PhD in Cultural Studies from the University of Silesia.


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