VAULT EXTRA 30th SEPTEMBER 2021
CHRISTIAN THOMPSON, NEW GOLD MOUNTAIN
Contemporary Australian Bidjara artist Dr Christian Thompson AO is showing his inaugural exhibition with Yavuz Gallery in Sydney. Presenting the artist’s latest body of work, New Gold Mountain is a mixed media series that continues the artist's investigation into his intersectional identity – however, specifically reflecting upon his Southern Chinese background in depth.
Drawing on the influence of Thompson’s Chinese-Australian grandmother, who is a descendant of the first wave of Chinese migration from the mid 1800’s gold rush era, New Gold Mountain takes its title from this watershed era is that is often referred to by the same name. The series distinctly interweaves this cultural narrative with the artist’s own recent lockdown experiences, and a deep connection with nature inherent to his Bidjara identity and experience. Works such as the Flower Walls in series–respectively, titled New Gold Mountain (Xin Jin Shan) and Double Happiness–illustrate the navigating of these layers, the artist placing himself in the centre of these botanical photographic constellations. Commenting on the Flower Wall works, Thompson notes, “I’ve used a lot of specific southern Chinese flowers in them. I felt my grandmother’s presence guiding me through the entire process of making these works.” With a background in sculpture and textiles, Thompson’s multidisciplinary practice blurs the lines between fine art, photography and performance to create works that are personally, culturally and socially resonant.
Image credit:Christian Thompson, New Gold Mountain (Xin Jin Shan), 2021, C-type print on Fuji Pearl Metallic Paper, 250 x 250 cm / 120 x 120 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Yavuz Gallery, Singapore / Sydney
WATER RITES: WATER AS CULTURE, CONCEPT AND COMMODITY
Prompted as an examination of water as culture, concept and commodity, WATER RITES is a group exhibition at ACE Open that brings together new and recent work by a selection of conceptually-driven First Nations artists. Guest curated by Danni Zuvela, artists include Libby Harward (Ngugi), Archie Moore (Kamilaroi/Bigambul), Mandy Quadrio (Palawa), and artists from the Barngarla community in Port Lincoln (Galinyala) and Port Augusta (Goordnada).
The exhibition takes as a starting point, life on the driest state and continent on earth, as well as the Australia’s investment in extractive industries. From this position WATER RITES critically examines our relationship to water, positioning water as a non-human agent that is expressed through an array of vessels and acts that gives voice to water, its rhythms, needs and desires. WATER RITES is presented as part of Tarnanthi: Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art and continues at ACE Gallery until 20 November 2021. As part of the exhibition, a range of public programs will also take place through to October
Image credit:Danni Zuvela, Untitled, 2021, digital Image. Courtesy the artist and ACE Open
IOTA21 SWEEPS ACROSS WESTERN AUSTRALIA
The Indian Ocean Craft Triennial (IOTA) brings together artists, makers, and crafted works from a selection of countries from around the Indian Ocean Rim (IOR). IOTA21 is based on the theme of ‘Curiosity and Rituals of the Everyday’, and will see exhibitions and events take place in Fremantle and Western Australia more broadly.
As part of the inaugural triennial, Tineke Van der Eecken’s exhibition Tributaries presents a series of jewellery, sculptures and plastinates formed by corrosion casting that explore the tributary systems within our culture and the environment. Van der Eecken’s works aim to embody the fragility of Western Australia’s landscapes the negative impact that colonisation has had upon these natural sites. The exhibition is on show at Mundaring Arts Centre from November 6 until December 19, 2021.
Image credit: Tineke Van der Eecken, Sheep’s Head, 2021, corrosion cast sheep head, 18 x 7 x 6 cm; copper sculpture with mixedmedia, 45 x 12 x 1cm. Courtesy of Dr Christophe Casteleyn, Department of Morphology, Ghent University. Photo: by Yasmin Eghtesadi
ZADIE XA: CONNECTING TIME AND SPACE
Artist Zadie Xa is a storyteller. Her highly immersive and otherworldly paintings, installations and video-works explore the Asian diaspora and the environmental and cultural milieu of the Pacific Northwest. Within many of her recent site-specific works, Xa traverses all formats, mediums and materials, pushing the boundaries of both art and storytelling–harnessing costume, painting, performance, light and sound to animate a diasporic folklore in a way that responds to her heritage and experience as a member of the Korean diaspora. As such, Xa’s works transport viewers into a world of the artist’s creation where shared symbolism and knowledge is conflated with her own perceptions of her cultural heritage. I am a heart beating in the world: Diaspora Pavilion 2 by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and International Curators Forum in partnership with Campbelltown Arts Centre at Campbelltown Arts Centre includes specially commissioned works that extend upon Xa’s exploration of Korean Shamanic folklore. Read more about the artist’s recent works and expanded practice in Serena Cowie’s article Zadie Xa: Connecting Time and Space.
Image credit:Zadie Xa, Child of Magohalmi and the Echos of Creation, live performance as part of Art Night London (2019). Devised with and performed by Iris Chan, Jia-Yu Corti, Mary Feliciano, Jihye Kim and Yumino Seki, percussion_ Jihye Kim. Courtesy the artist and 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art
THE SOUL EXPANDING OCEAN
Located in the Church of San Lorenzo, Venice, Ocean Space is currently showing a new interactive work by artist and choreographer Isabel Lewis. The work is positioned as the second chapter of The Soul Expanding Ocean, a series of exhibitions by Ocean Space’s 2021–2022 curator Chus Martínez. Established by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Academy (TBA21 – Academy), Ocean Space is a planetary centre for promoting ocean literacy, research and advocacy through the arts. This ‘embassy for the oceans’ encourages engagement and action on the most pressing issues facing our oceans today. As such, Lewis’ work invites participants and visitors to dance through the ‘Ocean’. ‘The Soul Expanding Ocean 32: Isabel Lewis’ encourages visitors to reflect on their relationship with the ocean, prompting them to embrace the ‘Ocean’ as a pedagogy that facilitates a connection with nature–the diverse lives and bodies besides humans that exist within the ocean importantly acknowledged and celebrated. The exhibition continues until October 17, 2021.
Image credit: Isabel Lewis, Scalable Skeletal Escalator, Kunsthalle Zürich, 2020. Photo: Annik Wette
ROBERT LONGO AT PACE
Robert Longo’s debut exhibition with Pace Gallery, New York, presents a series of new charcoal drawings that respond to America’s tumultuous recent history. I do fly / After summer merrily presents a suite of six large-scale charcoal drawings that mark the final instalment of the artist’s Destroyer Cycle – a series examining notions of American power, violence, and mythmaking. The artist draws inspiration from recent news photography and footage, and works within the charcoal medium to harness a slowing down in the processing of media to subsequently render poignant scenes of a country in crisis. The series presents as eery yet and deeply compelling–works capture events and collective experiences related to the political climate of 2020 and the devastation triggered by the Coronavirus pandemic. By exploring themes of protest, freedom, and entropy, I do fly / After summer merrily reflects on the turbulence of the current social and political circumstances while proposing an earnest hopefulness for the future. The exhibition continues at Pace, New York, until 23 October, 2021.
Image credit: Robert Longo, Untitled (Robert E. Lee Monument Graffiti for George Floyd; Richmond, Virginia, 2020), 2021 charcoal on mounted paper 243.8 × 370.8 cm ©Robert Longo. Courtesy Pace Gallery
ARTS ARE NEWSWORTHY!
Three Melbourne-based artists, Nina Sanadze, Tai Snaith and Mia Salsjö, are proactively seeking to normalise arts news within Australian mainstream media. The ARTS are NEWSworthy petition champions coverage of the arts in our daily news services–asking for all TV channels (particularly SBS and ABC news) to add permanent and daily art and culture news updates at the end of all news broadcasts, similar to the broadcasting of sports news. The current media landscape favours sports, commerce and politics, cementing the importance of these activities within the collective imagination. The team behind The ARTS are NEWSworthy petition advocate that the process of regularly incorporating arts news into mainstream media, would create a powerful boost to arts industries and deliver a critical change in the role culture plays in our daily lives. Already generating mass support from the Australian art community, the petition is seeking 50,000 signatures to clearly outline the significant role of arts and culture within Australia, and subsequently move this idea into practice.
You can sign the petition here.
Image credit:Artwork by Tai Snaith, 2021