Art Radar Asia

Contemporary art trends and news from Asia and beyond

  • Photobucket
  • About Art Radar Asia

    Art Radar Asia News conducts original research and scans global news sources to bring you selected topical stories about the taste-changing, news-making and the up and coming in Asian contemporary art.
  • Advertisements

Archive for the ‘Australia’ Category

The 17th Sydney Biennale – Art Radar rounds up highlights, disappointments and critiques

Posted by artradar on August 25, 2010


BIENNALES ART EVENTS AUSTRALIAN ART CONTEMPORARY ART GLOBALISATION ENLIGHTENMENT

With an unprecedentedly high attendance of over half a million visitors, the 17th Sydney Biennale has also been the largest in scale since the biennale was first held in 1973. From 12 May to 1 August, 444 works by 167 artists from 36 countries sprawled out over seven exhibition venues, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cockatoo Island, Pier 2/3, Artspace, the Sydney Opera House, the Royal Botanic Gardens and the entrance court of the Art Gallery of New South Wales. What follows is an Art Radar summary of this year’s artists and events and a collection of comments and critiques made by various arts writers and bloggers.

From European Enlightenment to globalisation

Titled The Beauty of Distance: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age, this year’s biennale celebrated the end of European Enlightenment in art and welcomed a new era of shifted balance of power. David Elliott, artistic director of the biennale, spoke to The New Zealand Herald about the breaking down of previous political and geopolitical structures and the changing dispersion of power and knowledge in the present world.

In an effort to explore this new world – a world in which Western superiority is being replaced by equality among different cultures – the biennale selected and presented works from diverse cultures, predominantly Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Scandinavia, Britain and China, works created mostly by artists who are new to international exhibitions.

Diverse art styles, heavy demand for new technologies

As the subtitle Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age suggests, the biennale presented arts with themes that are closely connected to contemporary realities. A recent article posted on c-artsmag mentioned how the biennale pointed to a world which “is fragmented and fractured, hobbled by inequalities and necessitating historical reassessment.” Common themes of the exhibited works include poverty, famine, inequality, environmental despoliation and globalisation.

The biennale presented works of a variety of styles. In Sydney Morning Herald, Adam Fulton describes that,

“The modern art – traversing installation, sculpture, painting, film, cross-media and performance – goes from the sublime (110 Aboriginal memorial poles in the Museum of Contemporary Art) to the bizarre (a giant ship sculpture with oozing foam and pierced baby-doll faces on Pier 2/3, Walsh Bay).”

There was a heavy demand for new technologies to support the audio and visual effects in many biennale works. A review by Colin Ho on ZDNet reports that over 70% of the budgeted expenses for artworks and installations of the biennale were spent on audio-visual and IT infrastructure.

Australian arts were promoted

The biennale represented the largest number of Australian artists in history. 65 Australian artists exhibited their works, and most of the 68 artists who premiered new works were also Australians.

An example is Peter Hennessey’s sculptural work, My Hubble (the universe turned in on itself) (2010), with which visitors can play to modify and create their own universes that they can then view in the eye piece located high in the air.

Peter Hennessey's 'My Hubble', which allows viewers to create and view their own universes, was part of this year's Sydney Biennale.

Peter Hennessey's 'My Hubble', which allows viewers to create and view their own universes, was part of this year's Sydney Biennale.

Another example is Brook Andrew’s Jumping Castle War Memorial (2010). The seven-metre-wide bouncy castle is not designed for the children, but for adults over sixteen only. The plastic-enclosed turrets contain skulls which represent the victims of genocide worldwide.

The plastic-enclosed turrets of Brook Andrew’s 'Jumping Castle War Memorial' contain skulls which represent the victims of genocide worldwide. The interactive installation is part of this year's Sydney Biennale.

The plastic-enclosed turrets of Brook Andrew’s 'Jumping Castle War Memorial' contain skulls which represent the victims of genocide worldwide. The interactive installation is part of this year's Sydney Biennale.

Major Asian artworks at the biennale

Among all the exhibited works, one of the most visited, media-covered and praised artwork was Chinese artist Cai Guo Qiang’s Inopportune: Stage One, his largest installation to date.

Cai Guo-Qiang’s 'Inopportune: Stage One' (2004) is a colossal installation made with nine cars and sequenced multichannel light tubes which create an impression of a series of cars exploding and rotating through space.

Cai Guo-Qiang’s 'Inopportune: Stage One' (2004) is a colossal installation made with nine cars and sequenced multichannel light tubes which create an impression of a series of cars exploding and rotating through space.

The biennale exhibited other Asian premier works including Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Faraday Cage, Chinese artists Sun Yuan and Peng Yu’s Hong Kong Intervention and Chinese artist Jennifer Wen Ma‘s New Adventures of Havoc in Heaven III.

Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto’s premier work 'Faraday Cage' is an installation created with light boxes from his previous “lightening fields” which experiment with photographically imaging electricity on large-format film.

Chinese artists Sun Yuan and Peng Yu’s premier work 'Hong Kong Intervention' (2009) reflects on the socio-economic inequity between the now mobile and globalised Filipino domestic maid workforce in Hong Kong and their employers.

Chinese artists Jennifer Wen Ma's premier work 'New Adventures of Havoc in Heaven III', a video installation in which smoke projection beams an animated image of the Monkey King from Chinese mythology.

Go here to view videos highlighting some of the major works in the 17th Sydney Biennale including Jennifer Wen Ma’s New Adventures of Havoc in Heaven III, Peter Hennessey’s My Hubble and Brook Andrew’s Jumping Castle War Memorial.

Mixed response from professionals and blog critics

While the consensus among critics and bloggers is that the Sydney Biennale this year was better than those in previous years, there are mixed comments about the biennale. John McDonald makes a summary of the biennale as a circus which relies too much on the natural ambience of Cockatoo Island. As he wrote in the Brisbane Times,

“This Biennale is as much a circus as ever, with some impressive works and a huge amount of filler. It is a better, more consistent show than the previous Biennale, although it still contains many exhausting hours of video and leans heavily on the extraordinary ambience of Cockatoo Island.”

He also questions whether the diverse selection of works is based on a central theme or just David Elliott’s taste.

“The sheer diversity of this collection makes a mockery of the conceptual framework outlined by the director. He might just as easily have said: ‘These are works that I like, made by some friends of mine.’ Instead, we are subjected to the usual preposterous claims that this art will leave us gasping for breath and spiritually transfigured. If it doesn’t, the problem lies with us, not the show.”

A blogger, writing on Art Kritique, shares a similar view with John McDonald and describes the biennale as confusing, banal and tricksy.

“The Biennale of Sydney is confusing. A friend of mine recently described it as a ‘car crash mishmash’ and she was right, sometimes the unexpected juxtapositions make for magical surprises, more often they leave you with a headache … The inherent ghostly palimpsest of the island’s history, the shapes and textures of architecture and machinery speak so eloquently themselves that much of the work feels banal and tricksy.”

But some appreciated the biennale as being thought provoking and the works as being engaging and of high standard.

“Remarkably coherent and thoughtful, Elliott’s biennale mostly avoids the pitfalls of political correctness by including art that is thought-provoking, engaging and, in some instances, even beautiful.” Christina Ruiz, writing in the Art Newspaper.

“The Sydney Biennale … is usually more Banale than Biennale but not this year. The Beauty of Distance: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age, curated by David Elliott, is at turns poetic, ironic, and provocative. With tonnes of interesting artists doing amazing and often very humorous things, from Cai Guo Qiang and Shen Shaomin from China, to Folkert de Jong from the Netherlands, Paul McCarthy from the US, and Kader Attia from France. Roxy Paine’s ‘Neuron’ installation outside the Museum of Contemporary Art is particularly arresting, its stainless steel nerve cell of tree roots exploding in front of the MCA’s rather authoritarian 1930s facade. In my view, it is the best Biennale since the ‘The Readymade boomerang’ curated by René Block in 1990.” Chris Moore, writing in Saatchi Online TV and Magazine.

“The Biennale has a delightfully freewheeling and inclusive spirit, but it is the high standard of the art work, carefully selected and displayed, that makes the big exhibition so enjoyable at all its venues, not just Cockatoo Island … It helps that there is very little art of the ‘my three year old could have drawn that’ school. The easy pose of ironic detachment which sometimes puts people off contemporary art is almost completely absent, or is at least leavened by a political and conceptual eagerness which eloquently expresses the Biennale’s seemingly unwieldy theme, “The Beauty of Distance: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age.” Alan Miller, writing in the Berkshire Review for the arts.

CBKM/KN

Related topics: art events, Australia venues, promoting art

Related posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar Asia for more art event round-ups

Advertisements

Posted in Australia, Biennales, Events, From Art Radar, Globalization of art, Overviews, Professionals, Promoting art, Trends, Venues | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Problem of Asia: Para/Site art exhibition explores Asian identity in Sydney

Posted by artradar on May 5, 2010


PARA/SITE ASIAN IDENTITY ART

Ai Weiwei Beijing: The Second Ring, 2005. Video. January 14 – February 11, 2005. 1 h 6 m

The Problem of Asia, an exhibition presented 30 April – 22 May, 2010 at Chalk Horse Sydney in partnership with Hong Kong’s Para/Site Art Space, deals with an array of issues, not all of which are politically correct.

The exhibition considers how Asia is perceived and constructed, both from within and outside, and the contemporary challenges being presented to societies in general.

The exhibition is proposed as a catalytic, discursive device, activated through the artists that are part of the first installment of this improvised project. The show’s narratives address themes of growth, corruption, memory, history, language, colonialism and freedom.

This project is conceived as a work-in-progress, and is open to other additions and network plug-ins.

Australia is a unique location to launch this exhibition, as its multilayered relationship with the idea of Asia provides a provocative cultural framework.

Curated by Para/Site’s Executive Director and Curator Alvaro Rodriguez Fominaya, contributing artists include:

Ai Weiwei –      Luke Ching Chin-wai     Huang Xiaopeng     Michael Lee      Leung Chi Wo     Dinu Li      Tintin Wulia

Ai Weiwei’s videos document Beijing ring roads, focusing on the ‘process of pure observation and the nature of time…and the urban reality that defines Beijing’.

Urban reality versus urban utopia is explained through Michael Lee’s Spiral Supermart, a new project from the series Second-Hand City, where rubbles of collapsed buildings arrive at a futuristic factory in China to be analyzed, resurrected and displayed for resale.

Luke Ching Chin-wai and Huang Xiaopeng focus on language, although their research leads them through different concerns from translation software to impromptu Cantonese lessons for Japanese residents.

Dinu Li addresses the problem of Asia with a more direct strategy, through a video performance denouncing corruption, put in context with the inclusion of archival images from Chinese propaganda films.

Leung Chi Wo enacts a new performance based on his My Name is Victoria series, which encompasses references to the colonial past of Hong Kong.

Tintin Wulia’s installation is a research on the notions of nationality/nation/border through the relationship between citizenship, mobility, and political power, and between territory, mapping and cartography.

EW/KCE

Related Posts


Bookmark and Share

Posted in Alvaro Rodriguez Fominaya, Art spaces, Asian, Australia, Chinese, Gallery shows, Hong Kong Artists, Identity art, Installation, Nonprofit | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Balgo Hills art: Indigenous Australian art by renowned masters in rare tour through Asia

Posted by artradar on March 3, 2010


CONTEMPORARY INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIAN ART

Bright colors and mythical subjects in 26 works of internationally-renowned Balgo-style Australian desert art on tour in Asia: information about the show and a primer on the Balgo art genre

The exhibition

Balgo: Contemporary Australian Art from the Balgo Hills is an internationally touring exhibition of significant works from Australia’s Artbank collection.

The exhibition shows 26 works by a small community of Indigenous Australians from the Balgo Hills, a desert area in the northeast of Western Australia.

An important and highly respected range of prints by senior Balgo artists sits alongside a collection of works by emerging artists from the region.

Kathleen Paddoon, Nakarra Nakarra, etching on paper, 64 x 39 cm, 2005

image courtesy of TFAM

Balgo Hills

Priests of the German Catholic Pallottine Order established Balgo as a refuge mission in 1939. Unusually, the priests and nuns of the mission encouraged the Indigenous Australians to use their local language and customs, keeping traditional culture alive. The mission moved to the Balgo Hills area, where the community lives today, in 1965.

At Balgo Hills, different language groups were brought together as one community, and the community is collectively known as Kutjungka, meaning “being of one culture”. This mix of language and tradition has heavily influenced the Balgo artworks we see today.

Paintings from the Balgo Hills were first introduced to the world in the 1980s. An adult education centre was built in the community in 1981. Works produced here were shown at the Art Gallery of Western Australia in 1986, in the pivotal exhibition Art from the Great Sandy Desert. The success of this significant exhibition lead to the establishment of the Warlayirti Artists Corporation in 1987.

Susie Bootja Bootja, Kaningarra, near the Canning Stock Route, acrylic on linen, 150 x 76 cm, 2000

image courtesy of TFAM

The Dreaming

The overarching theme expressed by Balgo artists is the Dreaming. The Dreaming is a complex and holistic concept that refers to a time of mythological Ancestral Beings or Sky Heroes, to Law (or the system of moral governance) and to religious beliefs.

Works by Balgo artists portray their ancestral stories of the land or “country” (what Indigenous Australians call land) through the depiction of nature. To Balgo artists, nature is a real replication of the Dreaming. The artists meditate on the Dreaming by depicting nature in their artworks.

Balgo “style” is more true to life than other Western Desert styles. The symbols used in the paintings stem from those used in traditional sand painting and drawing, and from body painting. The artists are known for their vivid choice of colours and balanced, often symmetrical, design. A blend of modernity and tradition is clear in work from the Balgo Hills; traditional tribal myths are recreated using modern acrylic and etching.

Brandy Tjungurrayi, Narroo, acrylic on linen, 120 x 80 cm, 2002

image courtesy of TFAM

The artists

There are a number of significant senior “master” Warlayirti (Balgo Hills) artists, all of whom are internationally recognised.

Lucy Yukenbarri and Susie Bootja Bootja both work with dots; Yukenbarri’s places her’s close together to form scalloped lines while Bootja Bootja creates dotted color fields.

Many of these artists use their various painting styles to represent water sources and the importance these have in their lands: Helicopter Tjungurrayi, Boxer Milner, Fred Tjakamarra, Tjumpo Tjapanangka, Lucy Loomoo and Elizabeth Nyumi.

Commonly, Bob Dingle Tjapanangka and John Lee Tjakamarra portray Luurnpa, the Ancestral Kingfisher, who lead the Kukatja people to their lands in the Dreaming. Brandy Tjungurrayi also portrays important Dreaming figures, but in sharp geometrics.

Kathleen Paddoon is known for her dramatic use of bright colour and a particularly minimalist approach.

Uniquely, Joan Nagomara works in the style of the early days of Balgo’s emergence, using it to show the ritual activities that tie her to her country.

Eubena Nampitjin and Ningie Nangala Nangala work with the hills and rocky outcrops of their countries, representing them in a minimalist linear fashion.

Stand-out emerging artists from the Balgo Hills region include Pauline Sunfly, who paints using intense color combinations, Miriam Baadjo, who presents the important Two Children Dreaming, and Jimmy Tchooga, who paints his father’s creation story.

The tour

Balgo: Contemporary Australian Art from the Balgo Hills has already shown in New Zealand, the Philippines, the USA, Thailand and Taiwan, and is currently exhibiting in Hong Kong. Further destinations include Vietnam, mainland China, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Korea. A touring schedule is available via the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.

KN/KCE

Related Posts

Posted in Ancestors, Australia, Australian, China, Conceptual, Emerging artists, Identity art, India, Korea, Land art, Landscape, Mythical figures, Painting, Philippines, Social, Taiwan, Thailand, USA | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Rare piece of good news for art from Australian Tax Office – be quick to benefit

Posted by artradar on September 9, 2009


ART TAX AUSTRALIA

There is a rare piece of good news from the Australian Tax Office for artists and art buyers down under. A substantial tax break is being offered for purchases of new art before the end of the 2009 tax year.

Australian art scene commentator and advisor Valerie Kabov gives more details in her monthly newsletter:

The ATO has just confirmed that small businesses are eligible to receive an investment allowance of up to 50% on the purchase of artworks for the 2009 income tax year.

NB The allowance only applies to new artworks created by professional artists registered with an ABN.

To qualify for the allowance ATO requires that:

Businesses must be small with a turn over less than 2 million per annum;

Business must demonstrate a dominant business-related purpose for their display.

The works of art must be portable (capable of being moved from one place to another); and in a tangible/visible/displayable form.

Artworks may not be sold within 12 months of purchase.

The artworks must be purchased prior to December 31st 2009

The artworks must cost $1000 or over and be original works by living, professional living artists registered with an ABN.

Artworks bought as trading stock or that were owned by a party other than the artist are not eligible.

Artworks must be bought in the primary market i.e. through the artist, his agent or his dealer.

For more information contact Valerie Kabov at www.renaissanceaic.com.au. Renaissance aic describes itself as an independent educational art investment consultancy with expertise in emerging and contemporary Australian art, collection building and tailored art investment, valuation and procurement services.

Related posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar Asia

Bookmark and Share

Posted in Australia, Business of art, Collectors, Funding, Market watch | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Why is Thailand difficult for street artists? Graffiti artist Bundit Puangthong explains

Posted by artradar on July 2, 2009


THAI STREET ART GRAFITTI

Thai artist Bundit Puangthong arrived in Melbourne 10 years ago and is a well established figure in the Australian art world, having staged highly successful exhibitions in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. He tells the Bangkok Post why Australia is a sanctuary for his street art.

I think people are freer to dabble in street art here in Australia than people in Thailand.

I also think that like mainstream art, street art is a luxury that a lot of Thais simply don’t have the time or money for. A lot of young Thai people study and work full-time as well as having responsibilities to their families, which does not leave a lot of time to be creative, or take part in activities such as street art.

Bundit Puangthong, Whisper

Bundit Puangthong, Whisper

Also, a lot of the Thai landscape or environment does not lend itself to street art. In Thailand there are not a lot of large clean walls waiting to be painted on like there are in Australia. In places like Bangkok, every little bit of the street is used by street hawkers, businesses, pedestrians, traffic, parking, etc. It is already very visually chaotic.

We are spoiled in Australia for having the money, time, space and freedom to express ourselves the way we wish to.

Bangkok Post for more

Bundit Puangthong fuses his training in traditional Thai art with a modern Western-based arts practice. His paintings incorporate elements of traditional Thai art, American pop art and contemporary street art in attempt to strike a balance between the cultures in which he lives. His work explores a diversity of themes, from his own understanding(s) of Buddhism and how this fits into life in Australia, through historical stories of Buddha and aspects of Thai culture such as superstition and royalty. Drawing on his traditional Lai Thai Arts Training his paintings are rich in symbology.

See his work and bio on Bundit Puangthong website

Related posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar Asia for the latest trends in Asian art

Posted in Asia expands, Australia, Buddhist art, Classic/Contemporary, Open air, Thai, Urban | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sothebys to stay in Australia in 2009 confounding rumours

Posted by artradar on January 6, 2009


ART MARKET AUSTRALIA

It has been a tough year for auction houses in Australia in 2008 says The Australian

AFTER a bumper 2007, the Australian art auction market is down nearly 35 per cent this year, with $114.5 million of art works going under the hammer.Sotheby’s managing director Lesley Alway said this year had been tough.

“No one predicted the fallout that occurred from mid to later this year from the global economy situation,” Ms Alway said.

Nevertheless Sothebys remains committed to Australia

Despite continuing industry rumours that Sotheby’s might follow Christie’s and shut its Australian operation, the company was here to stay.

“We’ve just had approval to go ahead for our business plan for next year,” she said. Sotheby’s had already consigned some important paintings for its auction next year.

Art galleries report that the serious collectors are coming back to the market

Unlike the early 1990s crash, when several commercial galleries and dealers were forced to close their doors, industry players say the current scenario is less bleak. Significantly, serious collectors who stopped buying during last year’s overheated art market are slowly returning.

Art adviser David Hulme said: “Good art will survive any crisis, and the committed collectors will always be there, whether it’s the primary market or the secondary auction market. Perhaps 2007 was an aberration; time will tell.”

Gallery owner Stuart Purves said his Sydney and Melbourne galleries, Australian Galleries, had experienced a Christmas rush from collectors.

The Australian

Subscribe to Art Radar for the latest art market news from Asia Pacific and beyond

Posted in Auctions, Australia, Individual, Market watch | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Filipino artist Alwin Reamillo’s Helicopter project to tour Australia in 2009

Posted by artradar on September 10, 2008


 

FILIPINO ART Australian-based Filipino artist Alwin Reamillo’s collaborative sculpture called the Thuringowa Helicopter Project is to tour Australia’s capital cities as part of Kultour 2009. “Craft refers to a process of making a creative form of some sort, but also refers to sea/water vessels.” explains Reamillo to Asia Art Archive magazine, Diaaalogue. In my work “I fuse these literal meanings or states with alternative references. Helicopters are vehicles, quite literally in the form they take, but also become vessels of culture, and projects that mobilize communities, becoming vehicles of change”.

Another project which is commanding international attention is his on-going Grand Piano project which has taken place in several countries and is currently on show at the UP Vargas Museum in the Philippines.The project, officially titled the Nicanor Abelardo Grand Piano Project,  takes the form of an installation, which also functions as a stage/workshop space for the restoration of three found pianos. “It breathes life into the musical legacy of one of the leading composers of the Philippines, Nicanor Abelardo” says Reamillo. “Nicanor Abelardo pioneered the research of traditional Tagalog folk music, and is considered the country’s first modernist composer”.

The installation focuses on Abelardo’s classical work, ‘Mutya ng Pasig’ (Muse of Pasig), which is animated through text, objects, found piano parts and imagery drawn from photographs and popular culture. The grand piano will be developed in September and will be launched for an all-Abelardo concert.

Autumn 2008 will be busy for Reamillo. He is involved in a project, which will culminate in performances and exhibitions in August/September 2008, based around the creation of a submersible deep-sea exploration vessel and a shadow play. At the same time he is currently preparing an exhibition of a new series of mixed-media objects in the form of toy piano wings, as part of an installation at Gallery East in Western Australia in August 2008 and Manila in December at Galleria Duemila.

See (in new window)

 Subscribe to Art Radar Asia

Posted in Australia, Collaborative, Conceptual, Filipino, Installation, Manila, Performance, Philippines, Projects, Vehicles | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »