Luise Guest

From this Author

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
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.[…..]

Anarchy, Tea, and After-Dinner Calligraphy: Interview with the Yangjiang Group

Yangjiang Group. Final Days, 2015; installation view, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, wax and modified clothing installation,
dimensions variable. Commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy the artists and Vitamin Creative Space, Guangzhou. Photo: Zan Wimberley

For contemporary Chinese artists Zheng Guogu, Chen Zaiyan, and Sun Qinglin—known as the Yangjiang Group—art is about social action and everyday life, including the practice of calligraphy, shopping, football, gambling, drinking, and eating. They believe art and life are entirely connected, resisting the commercialism of the art market and the over-intellectualization of art. Their latest project, Actions for Tomorrow, includes a live event, Tea Office, as a[…..]

From Beijing: Beijing Voice and Zhang Xiaotao at Pékin Fine Arts

Beijing Voice 'Unlived By What is Seen' installation view courtesy Pace Beijing

There has been noise of late about the supposedly derivative nature of contemporary art, about questionable curatorial practices, and about the piratical behavior of the art market. “Zombie Formalism” and “Crapstraction” are glib, voguish—although, it must be said, amusing—terms that have been thrown around. Whatever you may think about this critique of current tendencies in abstract painting, it seems that all is not well in the world[…..]

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.[…..]