Luise Guest

From this Author

The 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art

THOMPSONchristian_Trinity1

Postcolonial narratives of dispossession, survival, and reclamation dominate the 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT) at the Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, making the exhibition part melancholy lament and part anthem of triumph. Works by artists of different traditions speak of cultural practices transformed in response to external forces, yet they preserve important narratives of identity. From the revival of Mongolian zurag painting in Ulaanbaatar to[…..]

Chen Qiulin: One Hundred Names at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney

Chen Qiulin carves tofu

What’s in a name? In ancient China, surnames represented clans and ancestral lineage, a highly significant aspect of identity and filial obligation. In contemporary parlance, the Chinese phrase “Lao Bai Xing” (literally, “the old hundred names”) translates as “the ordinary people” or “the common folk.” It often refers to the voiceless, those who are most powerless in the face of social forces. For many years, Chen Qiulin[…..]

New Directions: Tao Hui at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art

TaoHuiinstallation5

Young Chinese artist Tao Hui is a teller of absurd and disturbing tales; he is a fabulist and a social critic. Born in 1987, his childhood exposed him to the hardships of rural life and to Chinese folk traditions. After graduating from the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute with a BFA in oil painting, he turned to new media to represent the bizarre realities of life[…..]

Chen Zhen: Without Going to New York and Paris, Life Could Be Internationalised at Rockbund Art Museum

Chen Zhen, Purification Room, 2000 - 2015. found objects, clay, approx 850 x 1100 x 450cm, image courtesy Rockbund Museum and Galleria Continua, San Gimignano/Beijing/Les Moulins

Chen Zhen, who died (much too young) in Paris in 2000, was a significant artist with a hybrid Chinese and European identity. Although after 1986 he essentially lived and worked in Paris, his personal history and deep cultural roots lay in China, and specifically in Shanghai. From the mid-1990s he returned over and over to a city on fast-forward. Shanghai was undergoing a massive, controversial transformation,[…..]

After Utopia at the Singapore Art Museum

Shen Shaomin. Summit (detail) silica gel simulation, acrylic and fabric, dimensions variable, Singapore Art Museum collection, image courtesy Singapore Art Museum

After Utopia: Revisiting the Ideal in Asian Contemporary Art at the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) explores the dissonance between our innermost longings and the contemporary world we have created. Gunter Grass said, rather gloomily, that melancholy and utopia are heads and tails of the same coin. Imagining perfection, we confront the contradiction between the Arcadia of our imagination and the imperfect realities of our everyday. Featuring eighteen[…..]

Yang Zhichao: Chinese Bible at the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation

Yang Zhichao
Chinese Bible 2009 (detail)
3,000 found books
Dimensions variable
Image courtesy: The Gene & Brian Sherman Collection, and Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Sydney
Photo: Jenni Carter, AGNSW

“Historical experience is written in iron and blood,” said Mao Zedong. In Yang Zhichao’s monumental performance/installation project Chinese Bible at Sydney’s Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, historical experience is written in thousands of humble, mass-produced notebooks once owned by ordinary Chinese people, their worn covers testament to the weathering of time and the vicissitudes of social change. Ai Weiwei says, “Everything is art. Everything is politics,”[…..]

Nature/Revelation at the Ian Potter Museum

Berndnaut Smilde, 
Nimbus D'Aspremont
2012
digital C-type print mounted on diabond
75 x 110 cm 
Courtesy the artist and Ronchini Gallery, London

Entering Nature/Revelation, in the rather hushed surrounds of Melbourne University’s Ian Potter Museum, the first thing visitors encounter is an enormous sperm whale. Looming in the darkened space, it has a startling presence and gravitas, even more so when you realize it’s a graphite drawing. Its skin is pitted, marked and scarred by travels through a world still mysterious to us, and its tiny eye regards us mournfully.[…..]