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Chinese Art

Art Essays

The First Emperor

Saturday, December 11th, 2010 Chinese Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

For two thousand years the safest place for China’s cultural heritage has been underground. The Chinese may be proud of having the world’s oldest civilisation but they have also been the greatest destroyers and iconoclasts. In China the present has frequently been at war with the past, as the ruler of the day attempted to […]

Art Essays

White Rabbit: The Big Bang

Saturday, December 4th, 2010 Chinese Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

As a squad of entombed warriors takes up temporary residence at the Art Gallery of NSW this may be an opportune time to look at the state of Chinese art two thousand years down the track. White Rabbit, the Neilson family’s privately funded museum of contemporary Chinese art, is currently holding its third exhibition. Like […]

Art Essays

Shen Jiawei: From Mao to Now

Saturday, November 13th, 2010 Australian Art, Chinese Art, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

It’s a sign of our ignorance about China that the term “Cultural Revolution” is used so promiscuously in the mass media. Art exhibitions, fashion shows, almost anything may be described by this catchphrase, which obviously seems ‘cool’ to a lot of people. But as Mao Zedong famously said: “a revolution is not a tea party.” […]

Art Essays

Australian artists tour China

Saturday, October 9th, 2010 Australian Art, Chinese Art, General Art Essays, Sydney Morning Herald Column,

With each year China is exerting a greater attraction for Australian artists. This is not simply a reflection of the country’s status as this century’s coming super power, or the fact that the Australian economy is riding on the back of China’s insatiable appetite for resources. There is a pervasive energy in contemporary Chinese art […]

Art Essays

Shen Jiawei: the Art of Politics

Sunday, August 1st, 2010 Art Essays, Australian Art, Chinese Art, International Art,

Shen Jiawei became an artist during the Cultural Revolution, making his first major works in the service of the state, embodied in the figure of the Great Helmsman, Mao Zedong. For roughly a decade, from 1966 onwards, every aspect of daily life in China was politicised in a way that seems to defy logic. It […]

Art Essays

Ai Weiwei

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008 Chinese Art, International Art,

Ai Weiwei has spent the past decade swimming against a tide that now looks more like a tsunami. Born in 1957, he spent his youth in the remote province of Xingjian, where his father, the poet Ai Qing, had been sent for re-education. The family was not allowed to return to Beijing until 1975, when […]

Art Essays

Hu Ming

Sunday, July 1st, 2007 Chinese Art, International Art,

“In order to build a great socialist society,” wrote Mao, in his little red book, “it is of the utmost importance to arouse the broad masses of women to join in productive activity.” If we consider the erotic overtones of the English word “arouse”, Chairman Mao’s vision of women’s role sets the scene for Hu […]

Art Essays

Shen Shaomin: Bones of Contention

Friday, August 6th, 2004 Chinese Art, International Art,

Monstrous bones have been turning up throughout the course of civilization, but it was not until 1842 that the British anatomist, Sir Richard Owen, coined the word “dinosaur” – bringing together the Greek words deinos (meaning ‘marvellous’ or ‘terrible’) and sauros (‘lizard’). The “dragon bones” found in Sichuan 2,000 years ago, as described by the […]