By Amy Gardner
Shi Jindian, Beijing Jeep’s Shadow, 2007, stainless steel wire. Photo courtesy of the artist
Nestled in a quiet side street of inner-city Chippendale, the White Rabbit Gallery houses one of the world’s largest and most significant private collections of contemporary Chinese art. Today I go to visit the current exhibition, Decade of the Rabbit.
Thrown to the Wind, 2010, a steel and plastic monolith dominating the pristine forecourt, catches my eye the instant I enter. Artist Wang Zhiyuan has created an effigy of China’s mass production of consumer products. He reflects upon a society apparently blind to the implications of producing so much waste. Even though it is literally a pile of rubbish, the work is extremely articulate in message and form.
The works of 30 artists are included in Decade of the Rabbit, displaying the considerable curatorial ability of the gallery director, Judith Neilson: the variety of method and material on display boggles the mind. Shi Jindian’s Beijing Jeep’s Shadow, 2007, for example, is a sculptural phenomenon of twisted wire which took 18 months to weave and assemble. It is captivating to see the touch of the artist’s hand in the delicate formations of the wire.
Every artist here has used his or her materials with grace and decisiveness. Fabrication No. 3, 2009, by Wang Lei is a pair of cream imperial dragon robes, woven from twisted paper taken from the pages of Chinese–English dictionaries; I feel welcomed into the artist’s complex practice. By comparison, Ye Sen’s work titled Analysis No. 4, 2009, seeks to trick me. This wooden sculpture comprises two logs connected by a rusted chain which, on close inspection, I realise is also made of wood.
Decade of the Rabbit is an inspiring taste of the broad spectrum of artistic practices held within this exquisite collection of Chinese contemporary art.
Decade of the Rabbit, White Rabbit Gallery, Chippendale, 25 February – 31 July 2011.
Shi Jindian, Beijing Jeep’s Shadow, 2007, stainless steel wire