Exhibition Information: Informative
4A Gallery, 181-187 Hay St, Sydney 2000
Exhibition: Last Words (Phase 1)
16th July – 28th August 2010
Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan
In God We Trust
Stainless steel, Jeep parts
439 x 171 x 121cm
4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is a project of the Asian Australian Artists’ Association. Located at the edge of Sydney’s Chinatown. 4A presents contemporary Asian Art in Australia, aiming to increase the understanding of diverse cultures. Last Words (Phase 1) is the first of a two-part group exhibition featuring Australian and Asian artists.
The notion of geography, and this regions’ social-economic position in the world, has dramatically altered in the past 50 years. Where once the “Far East” was seen as a distant, exotic, colonial outpost of the British Empire, changes in economics, politics, technology and communications have radically altered the roles that both Asia and Australia play in the modern world.
Today we have an increased awareness of society and culture outside our home countries, facilitated by instantaneous communication and global migration. This knowledge brings not only understanding, but also improved analyses of international economics, global marketing and the changing ideologies of the region.
Last Words explores these themes through a diverse range of contemporary artworks. The ground floor gallery is dominated by Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan’sIn God We Trust (2010). The work, a WW2 army jeep decorated with the assistance of craftspeople from Manila, comments on the history of colonization within the region, and particularly the American occupation of the Philippines.
The upstairs space showcases artists from Australia, China and Japan. Chinese-Australian artist Shen Shaomin, recently seen in the 2010 Sydney Biennale, has two early works in the exhibition. Constructed from found materials including paper, the artist weaves Chinese and English texts with images of Australian political figures. With the mix of different cultures so prevalent in society today, there is still potential for confusion and misalignment of ideas. In this way, Shaomin’s works highlight the fact that cross-cultural understanding does not come easily.
Across the space, Japanese artist Hikaru Fujii makes a forthright statement about global branding and the role it plays in modern society with his work Nike Politics(2008). Alongside Fujji’s piece are two video works by Zhang Ding. Both works featuring the artist as a central character; Boxing I and II (2007) tests Ding’s physical limits as he boxes hanging cacti, while The Great Era (2007) depicts a cinematic portrait of Shanghai underpinned by a surrealist style narrative.
At the far end of the room is The Fight (2010), Eric Bridgeman’s video work created during a visit to his mother’s village in Papua New Guinea. The artist explores his own family’s background and history, while reflecting on how tourism impacts the depiction of traditional culture.
The final piece shown is Archie Moore’s Mulgoa (2010). Mulgoa is an interactive work where the audience hears a recording of “Bound for Botany Bay” when running a modified tape recorder over the pages of the Book of Revelations. Here Moore highlights the transformational impact the meeting of two cultures can have.
The second part of the exhibition, Last Words (Phase 2), opened September 3rd 2010.