Luise Guest

From this Author

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[…..]

The Fun of the Fair: Sydney Contemporary

Kim Joon, Bird Land - Chrysler, 2008, digital print, 47 x 83 inches, Sundaram Tagore Gallery, Hong Kong, New York, Singapore

Depending on who you ask, anywhere between eight thousand and thirteen thousand people attended the vernissage of the world’s newest art fair, Sydney Contemporary. By the end of three and a half days, the fair had attracted almost twenty-nine thousand visitors eager to see the offerings from eighty-three Australian and international galleries, presenting the work of more than three hundred artists. The physical scale was[…..]

Zhang Rui’s One Year at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

In 2007 young artist Zhang Rui, then newly graduated from the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts, was one of 1001 Chinese citizens selected by Ai Weiwei through his blog to participate in his project Fairytale for Documenta 12. The experience proved to be a transformative one. Her body of work One Year is showing at Sydney’s 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Small works, painted with[…..]