Wenny Teo - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Wenny Teo

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Dr Wenny Teo

Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Asian Art
Wenny Teo

Wenny Teo is an art historian and curator. Originally from Singapore, she received a BA in History of Art and English Literature from the University of York, and a MA and PhD in History of Art from University College London. Her doctoral thesis, One World, One Dream: Contemporary Chinese Art and Spectacle examined the highly ambivalent relationship between contemporary Chinese art and spectacle from China’s ‘open door’ reforms in 1978 to the historical watershed of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Her current book project builds on this body of research but centres on the new generation of contemporary Chinese artists born after 1978, particularly focusing on China’s geopolitical rise and questions of labour, humour, boredom, diaspora, post-Internet and online visual culture. Prior to joining The Courtauld Institute of Art as the Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Asian Art, she worked in various curatorial roles in the Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, and at Tate Modern, London and has continued to work on various curatorial projects internationally. In 2014 she was associate curator of We Have Never Participated – The 8th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennial, and in 2016 she co-curated A Beautiful Disorder, an exhibition of newly commissioned outdoor installations by contemporary Chinese artists at Cass Sculpture Foundation, Chichester. Her writing has been published in various academic journals, catalogue essays and art magazines. She has guest edited issues of the Journal of Art Historiography and the Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art and is on the editorial board of Oxford Art Journal.

Wenny would welcome PhD applications from candidates interested in pursuing research in East and Southeast Asian art, postcolonial and critical theory, identity politics, new media art, globalisation and global visual culture.

Teaching 2016-17

  • BA1 Foundations
  • BA3 Special Option: Mapping Contemporary East Asian Art
  • MA History of Art: Global China: Modern and Contemporary Chinese Art and Geopolitics

PhD Supervision


Jessie Robertson, ‘Documenting Socially and Politically Engaged Art in the Digital Age’

Research interests

  • East and Southeast Asian art and politics
  • Soft power
  • (Post)internet art
  • Humour
  • Biopolitics
  • Subversion
  • Spectacle
  • Historiography
  • Critical theory
  • Semiotics

Forthcoming publications


  • ‘One World, One Dream: Contemporary Chinese Art and Spectacle


  • ‘Xu Bing, Ai Weiwei, and the (Geo)politics of Canonisation (1994-2014)’ in Revising the Contemporary Canon: Perspectives in a Global World,  ed. Ruth Iskin, Routledge.

Recent publications

Essays, articles and reviews

  • ‘Of Islands and Prisons: Not-Taiwan, Not-China at the 2013 Venice Biennale’ in ‘Proceedings of the International Conference on Jie (Boundaries): Contemporary Art From Taiwan.’ National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts Press, 2015.
  • ‘Modern and Contemporary Chinese Art: Historiographic Reflections’ Special edition of The Journal of Art Historiography. No 10, June 2014. (Guest editor)
  • ‘The Un/Desirable Guest: Hos(ti)pitality in the Postcolonial Archive’ Erika Tan – Come Cannibalise Why Don’t You? National University of Singapore Museum Press, 2014 (exh cat).
  • ‘Cannibalism, Capitalism and the Cross-cultural Politics of “Eating People”’ Journal of Visual Art Practice, Special edition on Contemporary Chinese Art and Criticality, Vol 11, Issue 2-3, September 2012.
  • ‘Lost and Found Dogs: Desiring Production in Qiu Anxiong’s “We Are the World” in Hopfener, Birgitte et al, Negotiating Difference: Contemporary Chinese Art in the Global Context. (Weimar: Verlag und Datenbank für Geisteswissenschaften) 2012.
  • ‘Signalling Through Flames: Cai Guo-Qiang’s Language Acts,’ Object: Graduate Research and Reviews in the History of Art and Visual Culture No. 12, 2010.

Other professional activities

  • Member of Editorial board of The Oxford Art Journal
  • Member of Advisory board of Art Review Asia
  • Member of Advisory board of The Journal of Contemporary Chinese Culture
  • Member of Advisory board of The Journal of Art Historiography

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