by Alexis Orosa- Contibutor
VISIONS OF THE FUTURE
White Rabbit Gallery, Chippendale, Sydney
Nov 7 2018 – Feb 3 2019
White Rabbit Gallery has proven itself a leader in contemporary Chinese Art that pushes boundaries and provokes audiences with sharply curated exhibits changing every quarter, designed to enrapture and encapsulate a view of the world that is as political as it is contemplative.
Its latest exhibit, Supernatural: Visions of the Future is no different. From its foyer hanging with Li Shan’s half-man, half-dragonfly nude sculptures, White Rabbit invites us into a dystopian world of intense transformation, where traditional Chinese landscapes and harmonious colours have been smashed into fragments relentless concrete, glass, plastic and mega-cities. A lament, as much as a fascination and a fear of the speedy, consumer-driven transformation of our endangered planet, Supernatural is a wake up call to the destruction of our planet, the loss of our values and history and the moments of sublime and grace that exist in between.
This is an exhibit that does fear pulling punches, drawing from old and new forms and techniques. Qiu Zhijie draws a map of the Heritage of the Third World in traditional style with cities and features labelled ‘the Peak of Dictator’ and ‘Canyon of Cold War.’ Ai Wei Wei’s porcelain oil spills remind us of the Faustian deal we made – pollution for ‘progress.’ Zhou Xiaohu’s Python-esque puppet show prances along a bleak Chinese landscape to Daoist philosophy musings. Guo Jian’s sunrises over garbage dumps are Blade Runner-like, whilst Yang Shen’s oil paintings are psychedelic homages to propaganda and anime that seem crude in the current political climate.
And yet, there are moments of the sublime. Zhu Jinshi’s canvas explodes with impasto colors marking the transformation of the world.Emily Shih-Chih Yang recreates landscapes with ink brush techniques and characters in visual poetry. Chang Ling’s crimson oil is an abstract fever dream of the subconscious and Liu Yujia’s looping aerial videos of waves, both clean and polluted remind us of our transition in breathtaking fashion. And on the final floor, Yang Wei-Lin uses textiles to immerse us into an ocean of cloth and wheels, recreating rain, islands and ocean creatures – the depths of the sublime. But it is Wu Chi-Tsung’s magic lantern show is the quiet show-stopper, using mesh and light to imagine a landscape flowing under the light of a moon.
With the withering of our natural environment at our hands and the consequences and surreality of this change in our lifetime, there has never been a more timely exhibit that to make us change and show the cost of what we have wrought, what we have changed and what we will lose from artists at the economic and environmental transformation of the world.
Alexis Orosa is an emerging filmmaker and writer and a National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) MFA graduate. Fluent in three languages, Alexis has lived across the globe, previously working as a legal intern, model and NGO advocate. He is currently engaged in pre-production for his first film and the release of new music videos and has a passion for international stories engaged with big issues that help find a voice for young people.
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