| Press Room

“Chinese Contemporary Art Month” facilitates interdisciplinary dialogues between China and Australia

As part of the ongoing “Chinese Contemporary Art Month”, three forums were organised and held by the China Cultural Centre in Sydney (CCCSYD) over April 13-14.

This consisted of a group of Australian and Chinese scholars and professionals convening to discuss the following topics: The Role of Chinese Contemporary Art, Its Trend & Implications; Artist Talk & Panel Discussion by Chinese and Australian Art Collectors; and Urban Arts in Dynamic Cities over the course of two days. 

The forums sought to establish a multidisciplinary dialogue by engaging experts specialising in art, culture, urban designing, architecture, the cultural and creative industry, as well as those who work in governmental and non-profit organisations. The overall aim was to promote cultural exchange, furthering integrative art-and-culture dialogues between Australia and China.

With Mrs. Zhao Li, Director of CCCSYD, acting as Chairperson, participating speakers elaborated on views regarding the role of Chinese contemporary art, with the morning session focusing on trends and implications, followed by talks and group discussions on specific Chinese contemporary art collections over the afternoon.

Beginning with the topic of “The Transition of Chinese Contemporary Art”, Professor Zhao Li, curator of Chinese Contemporary Art Month, expounded on the development trajectory of Chinese contemporary art through the aspects of “Reflection of History & Tradition”, “Intervention to Social Life”, “Desire for Science & Technology”, and “Attention to Survival Environment”. Mr. Zhao also fleshed out this analysis by exemplifying artwork from Fang Lijun, Xiang Yang, and Song Dong. 

With a set goal of making Chinese contemporary art accessible to Australian audiences, The White Rabbit Gallery houses the largest collection of contemporary Chinese art outside China, equipped with an abundant amount of online and educational materials, as well as a library and research facilities.
“We see evidence of artists unafraid to use the most emergent and cutting-edge technologies, working conceptually to express very complex responses to today’s world”, said Luise Guest, Director of Education and Research, White Rabbit Collection.
“……the important thing for an artist is to break out of simply art circles, to go beyond just thinking about art and think about bigger issues in the world. It may not be the responsibility of art alone to address these issues, but we should try”, noted Anna Davis, Curator of Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.
Rosemary Miller, Artistic Director & CEO of Salamanca Arts Centre, Tasmania, and Charissa Davies, Visual Arts Curator from Adelaide Festival Centre, also introduced their representing organisations, and highly complimented the quality of “Zao Hua” and “Stories of the Life” – two events which previously premiered in Hobart and Adelaide respectively.
Participating artists, Jiacun Xu and Zilong Guo, later shared their interpretations of the exhibition themes in the afternoon sessions through the discussion of “comparison of western and Chinese creative ideas”, “techniques in painting”, ideologies and values underlying distinct cultural backgrounds, followed by a panel discussion joined by Dr Gene Sherman (Chairman and Executive Director of Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation), with regard to the topic of contemporary art collections.
Touching upon the topic of “The Role of Art in Cities” (14th April), the second day’s forum was led by chairperson Yue Zhang, Researcher on Sculpture by the Sea. The Forum tentatively discussed and explored aspects regarding popular yet heated arguments on the development of cities in both China and Australia.
Keynote speakers, Peter Poulet, NSW Government Architect, and David Handley, Founding Director of Sculpture by the Sea, elucidated the relationship between city and arts from governmental and public art perspectives, with an emphasis on the significance of “the spirit of humanity”, “boldness”, and “creativity” in modern city development.
“As public sculpture artists, we need to take so many aspects into consideration when comes to the creation of artwork; we cannot overlook factors like public space size, materials and safety. It’s not merely about the expression of individual feelings from artists, but also a comprehensive consideration that includes the city and its residents”, said Chinese sculpture artist Zilong Guo.
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