Home' Scoop Homes and Art : Scoop Homes and Art 38 Contents 220 HOMES & ART SPRING 2013
Chinese contemporary art often serves up ready-made responses
to the Western art market through aesthetic – and symbolic
crudeness. In Dregs of the Old Society, Liu Dahong’s childlike
sketches imbue Mao-era political satire with comic-book charm.
And Su Meng-Hung’s Album of Immortal Blossoms in An Everlasting
Spring by Guissupe Castiglione (2002) might borrow the 18th
century painter’s florid visual style but its skull motif lampoons
the economics of the modern art world, in a nod to the diamond-
encrusted versions made famous by Damien Hirst. In this case,
pandering to the art world itself becomes a form of cultural service
success stems from the ability to conform by broadcasting the
version of China that consumers most want to see.
“[The contemporary art scene] in China is like a restaurant in
Chinatown that sells all the standard dishes, such as kung pao
chicken and sweet and sour pork,” writes Ai Weiwei, the political
provocateur who’s widely considered to be China’s most famous
living artist. “People will eat it and say it is Chinese, but it is
simply a consumerist offering, providing little in the way of
a genuine experience of life in China today.”
Weiwei, however, seems to overlook the way Chinese artists
serve global forces while fulfilling local missives, shaking up the
way we perceive contemporary art in the process.
“There are 300 Chinese artists in the White Rabbit Collection, but
these are just the ones I like,” says Judith. “You could go to China
and find hundreds more. And I have no idea if they’re the best, or the
worst, or whether they will last. Only history will tell us that.”
White Rabbit Gallery, 30 Balfour Street, Chippendale, NSW
(02) 8399 2867, whiterabbitcollection.org.
Immortals’ Trails in a Secret Land by Madeln Company, 2012. Mixed media on canvas, 350x240x20cm.
Tibetan artist Norbu Tsering also features in the White Rabbit exhibition. Father’s Violin 2 by Nortse
(Norbu Tsering), 2007. Mixed media on canvas, 134.5x134.5cm.
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