|Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, Old People's Home, 2007, mixed media installation. Courtesy M+ Sigg Collection, |
Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation and National Portrait Gallery.
Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, Old People's Home, 2007, (detail) mixed media installation. Courtesy M+ Sigg Collection, Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation and National Portrait Gallery.
Often I suspect this reaction is one of awe at the sheer technical wizardry of the artists, and the audacity and scale of their ambition. There is also a recognition of some of the challenges faced by artists in the PRC, although these are often understood in very simple ways. The parents of my students often catch this excitement, visiting the White Rabbit Gallery with their daughters and then telling me how much they loved it. While this sometimes makes me feel as if I am proselytising - and I probably am, as I can't help sharing my enthusiasm with anyone who will listen - I am always so delighted when I can see such a heartfelt and appreciative response to contemporary artworks. Sadly this is not the general response to exhibitions at the MCA!
Perhaps it is partly a function of the way people respond when they can sense that artworks in a gallery have been chosen based on the personal tastes and enthusiasm of the buyer - in White Rabbit's case, Judith Nielson and her astute judgements. People have something of the same reaction when they go to Hobart and visit MONA, repository of David Walsh's appetite for the Grand Guignol end of the artworld.
In the case of the Sigg Collection, of course, one is aware that it represents a grand narrative of Chinese art in the post-Mao period, with the collector consciously and carefully telling the story of what he observed as China changed. And so much recent Chinese work in particular seems to transcend national boundaries and speak directly of human experience in this part of the 21st century, with all the anxiety and uncertainty that entails.
Next year, the wonderful 'Waste Not' installation by Song Dong, previously shown at MOMA, will be here in Sydney for the Sydney Festival at Carriageworks for the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. That is a major coup! See the link here: 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art
Song Dong, 'Waste Not' installation view 2005/2009/2012, Museum of Modern Art New York, courtesy the artist, Tokyo Gallery and BTAP