RAS Art Focus Group

RAS Library

State of Change/Change of State in Contemporary Chinese Art

Speaker: Luise Guest, Research Manager, White Rabbit Collection in Sydney Australia

What does a private collection in Sydney reveal about Chinese contemporary art in the twenty-first century? The White Rabbit Collection of Contemporary Chinese Art contains more than 3000 artworks, all produced since the year 2000. More than this, though, it is a document of changing art in a changing China. An examination of four recent exhibitions at the White Rabbit Gallery, featuring works drawn from the collection, reveal how contemporary art in China is shifting in response to social change. ‘Vile Bodies’ (2016), ‘The Dark Matters’ and ‘Ritual Spirit’ (2017) and ‘The Sleeper Awakes’ (2018) ask the question: Are binaries of east/west irrelevant in a globalized world? Many contemporary Chinese artists are engaged in the reinvention and renewal of Chinese traditions. From ink painting and calligraphy to porcelain, from woodcuts to embroidery, artists whose work is imbued with these particularly Chinese traditions include Gao Rong, Geng Xue, Liu Jianhua, Xu Bing, Sun Xun, Wang Lei, Yang Mushi, and Qiu Anxiong. Others, including Xu Zhen, position their work strategically in the increasingly narrow space between east and west, thereby questioning distinctions between local and global.

About the speaker Luise Guest

Sydney-based writer and researcher Luise Guest is Manager of Research for the White Rabbit Collection of Contemporary Chinese Art in Sydney. The White Rabbit Collection is currently the largest ongoing collection of contemporary Chinese art internationally. With a background in art education and art criticism, Luise’s writing has been published in a range of online and print journals including Randian, The Art Life, Daily Serving, The Culture Trip, Artist Profile and the Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art. Her book, ‘Half the Sky: Conversations with Women Artists in China’ was published by Piper Press (Sydney) in 2016. Luise is currently undertaking research through the University of New South Wales, with a study of four Chinese contemporary female artists who adapt the conventions of ink painting and calligraphy.

For more information about the White Rabbit Collection, please visit: www.whiterabbitcollection.org

RSVP: artgroup@royalasiaticsociety.org.cn