"China – The Past is Present", 15 October 2022 – 20 February 2023.
Understand the legacy of Chinese cultural and artistic traditions and important cultural movements through juxtaposing works from the NGV’s historical and contemporary collections of Chinese art and design.
"China – The past is present" juxtaposes the NGV’s historical and contemporary collections of Chinese art and design, emphasising the legacy of cultural and artistic traditions and their ongoing resonance in contemporary China.
The exhibition presents preeminent historical works alongside some of the most innovative contemporary works of recent years. It explores important Chinese cultural movements, ideas and artistic mediums to provide an understanding of modern China and some of its creative contemporary minds.
Spanning five millennia and an array of art forms – including painting, calligraphy, ceramics, metal works, lacquer ware, textiles, furniture, video, posters, photography and mixed media – the exhibition presents an anachronistic dialogue between the past and the present, revealing surprising cross-temporal connections between subject matter and form.
Exploring themes of spirituality and contemplation, power and prestige, compassion, auspicious symbols, belief and obsession, as well as the importance of the natural environment, mythology, scholarship and formal training in traditional practices, the exhibition highlights the influence of these cultural traditions within the work of historical and contemporary Chinese artists and designers.
Drawn primarily from the NGV Collection and highlighting never-before-displayed and recent acquisitions, the exhibition offers a new interpretation of the NGV’s expansive collection of Chinese art and design. China – The past is present is the culmination of several years of strategically collecting innovative and critical contemporary work that facilitates dialogue with major historical works in the NGV Collection.
The exhibition presents recently acquired work by Xiao Lu, widely considered to have been China’s first feminist performance artist and one of the best-known artists from China’s Avant Garde art movement of the 1980s; Xu Zhen, one of China’s leading artists on the international art scene; and Hai Bo, one of China’s breakout social documentary photographers emerging during the 1990s. Also on display is work by members of the first wave of contemporary artists in China, who were granted asylum in Australia after the 1989 Tiananmen protests, including Guan Wei and Ah Xian, alongside works by a new wave of young Chinese and Hong Kong Australian artists active in Melbourne and Sydney that include Scotty So and Louise Zhang.
From NGV website https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/exhibition/china-the-past-is-present/
National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), Australia, NOV-DEC 2022 Issue 37. My work "One" serves as the cover.
Pages 52-53, featuring the article "Becoming One: Xiao Lu's dialogues of ink and water" by Luise Guest.