Luise Guest

From this Author

COMMUNE at White Rabbit Gallery of Contemporary Chinese Art

Xia XIng, '2010', 2010 - 2011, oil on canvas, 35 x 50cm (x60) image courtesy White Rabbit Gallery

The word commune, whether used as a noun or a verb, has complex connotations. From earnest Utopianism to grim, state-enforced collectivism; from familial relationships and networks to our connection with the natural world—all of these possible associations are present in the new show at Sydney’s White Rabbit Gallery of Contemporary Chinese Art. From Judith Neilson’s impressive collection, curator Bonnie Hudson has selected works by twenty-three artists.[…..]

Home and Away: Chien-chi Chang and Chen Chieh-jen at the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation

Chen Chieh-jen Realm of Reverberations, installation view at Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation image courtesy SCAF

The word “home” has elusive, slippery connotations. In Chinese, the character “jia” (家) also means “family.” It suggests notions of sanctuary, shelter, belonging. But for some the meanings are more complicated. For the marginalized, the outsiders, the lost ones in our midst, it reminds them of all that is missing. For others, in a world crisscrossed by a diaspora of dislocated people seeking safety and[…..]

China Syndrome: Six Exhibitions in Beijing

Wu Jian'an, Transformations, installation view, courtesy Chambers Fine Art

Beijing is exhausting, exhilarating, infuriating, appalling, and wonderful, all at the same time. The energy of the city, undefeated by its weight of imperial and revolutionary history, or by the dead hand of contemporary politics and power struggles, is encapsulated in the lively diversity of its art scene. In the late 1990s and the early years of this century, Chinese artists were rock stars, earning[…..]

Subverting the Sublime: Wondermountain at Penrith Regional Gallery

Hua Tunan, Fluorescent impression shanshui, 2013, spray paint, 300 x 500, image courtesy the artist

It seemed entirely appropriate that my journey to see Wondermountain at the Penrith Regional Gallery and Lewers Bequest was through rain, a concrete landscape of freeways and overpasses obscured by my windscreen wipers. I arrived beside the swollen Nepean River, the Blue Mountains shrouded in mist, reflecting on the continuing importance of shanshui (mountain/water) painting. A poetic approach to representing landscape evolving from the Tang Dynasty, the[…..]

The Song of the Shirt: Feminist Performance Artist Wu Meng

Wu Meng, Gravity 6, 2010, image courtesy the artist and OV Gallery Shanghai

In her 2013 performance work And They Chat (also called Chat with Women), Wu Meng walked the streets of the old city of Haikou in a wedding dress made of newspaper, tying discarded domestic objects such as pots and pans, a broom, and a large mosquito net onto her body as she went. Her load became heavier and heavier as she dragged herself down the road,[…..]

Cai Guo-Qiang: Falling Back to Earth at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art

Cai Guo-Qiang, Heritage, 2013. 99 life-sized replicas of animals, water, sand, drip mechanism; installed dimensions variable
 commissioned for the exhibition ‘Falling Back to Earth’, 2013; proposed for the Queensland Art Gallery collection with funds from the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Diversity Foundation through and with the assistance of the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation.

Ninety-nine animals stand in a circle, heads bent, drinking from a clear pool of impossibly blue water. Predators and prey are lined up in peaceful harmony: lions and tigers together with giraffes, zebras, and antelope; a big black bear with small furry creatures. What utopian vision is this? In Cai Guo-Qiang′s allegorical installation for the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, he has abandoned his usual[…..]

Material Practices: Stitching, Fabric, and Textiles in the work of Contemporary Chinese Artists

Yin Xiuzhen, Portable City, Sydney, 2003       photo: Yin Xiuzhen         collection by Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, image courtesy the artist

Mao Zedong once said that revolution is not a dinner party. Less famously, he said it is not embroidery, either. Interestingly, however, some female contemporary Chinese artists have chosen to work with thread and textiles—and embroidery—in experimental, maybe even revolutionary ways. From Lin Tianmiao’s overt exploration of sexuality, fecundity, and the aging and decay of the body, to Yin Xiuzhen’s use of the embodied memories[…..]