Cultural exchange has been one of the most powerful driving forces in the development of art across time. Echoing Overseas traces Asia-based artistic exchange in different time periods. By focusing on this portion of global circulation, the exhibition breaks down the geographical and cultural dichotomy of East and West that commonly appears in narratives of creative exchange, focusing instead on the specifics of the artistic interactions presented. The exhibition features near fifty artworks from a range of time periods that show dynamic interchanges between artists, styles, themes, and materials. Echoing Overseas explores multiple modes of exchange, including imitation, appropriation, alteration, misunderstanding, and rejection. These exchanges are often most clear in the details of the artworks; in the exhibition, similar examples are set side-by-side to encourage comparison.
Echoing Overseas is divided into two main sections: “artworks overseas” and “artists overseas.” The first section features objects that circulated throughout Asia in the pre-modern period, when trade was the main means of artistic exchange. As objects and artworks circulated, they inspired transformation in visual language, medium, and interpretation. Among the section’s highlights include trade ceramics, scholarly paintings, and woodcut prints from East Asia. In the second section, the focal point shifts to the twentieth century, when many Asian artists studied abroad. Major cities like Tokyo, along with New York and Paris, became hubs for artists to participate in the latest art movements and groups. This section includes paintings by Chinese artist Zao Wou-Ki and Japanese artists Hisao Domoto and Toshimitsu Imai to demonstrate these international connections and exchanges of artistic ideas and styles, which are key factors in the formation of modern art.