Smash Palace Exhibition-Sydney Essay

Submitted By Alexis_1004
Words: 757
Pages: 4

Cultural unification plays a great part in defining an artist. The views and ideas of the people surrounding you and the images you are subjected to build a layer of meaning within each work, the impact the world has on you moulds you and your personal outlook. As John McDonald illustrates through his recount of the White Rabbit Art Galleries current exhibition of Chinese art known as the Smash Palace exhibition, that unification of conceptual ideas is what connects artworks from diverse artists together. It is the mutual bond brought about through a shared interest in issues affecting not only them but the entirety of their community.

What goes up must come down is a motto I feel the Chinese are employing within their architectural triumphs. Cheng Dapeng’s work Wonderful City (2011-2012) the scale model illustrates the infectious rate of growth in the city as high rise buildings go up only to be replaced with bigger and better versions and the ongoing state of real estate lying fallow as investments when there is an ever growing need for accommodation. Works such as CBD (Zhou Jie 2010) and Wonderful city (Cheng Dapeng 2011-2012) illustrate how the messages the artist wish to convey are similar as unchecked urban development resembles the spread of a virus in CBD presented as an organic process, as the buildings are literally eaten up by new growths. However, in wonderful city a more lucrative approach has been utilised, using hybrid forms to suggest the monsters from the id- the forces of greed and ambition are what truly drives china’s continuous self-reinvention. Wang Guofeng’s Ideality (2006) is a replication of soviet inspiration including small self-portraits to metaphorically show how futile it seems for an individual to oppose conformity, to rebuke the social norm and how insignificant his efforts were. This struggle is also pursued by Jin Shi in the work Mini Home as we see the struggle for peasants to live and work in the cities so flourished with high rise buildings.
There can be many aspects that unite a community; one is not confined to specific ideals. Other themes that emerge from this show are the dislocations between images and reality that characterise modern china for the rest of the world. The paintings of Liao Guohe make unspoken, cartoon-like statements about Chinese politics and bureaucracy embodied in shadowy belittling images of officials. The message to convey is that reality is hardly less absurd then Liao’s comical invention. This comical retort towards politics is echoed through Wang Guofeng’s work as he brought to light his personal stance towards Maoist Megalomania.
Expression can be shown through many differing forms of art, photography and sculpture are not the only forms in the exhibition. The inclusion of Yan Baishen’s film Ketchup (2009) and another video work, by Taiwanese artist Tu Pei-Shih, Adventures in Mount Yu (2010-11) uses the bright colours of a children's storybook to show how easily the ''happy bubble'' of present-day prosperity may be