Various visions (wall text for Facing East group show)

A wall text for a group show of Chinese artists which opened last Tuesday at Ausin Tung Gallery in Melbourne, Australia. Just brief introductions to the various artists involved.

Facing East: Chen Hangfeng, Gao Weigang, Ji Wenyu & Zhu Weibing, Pu Jie, Ren Bo, Wu Daxin, Wu Junyong, You Si, Zhang Bojun.

Ausin Tung Gallery, Melbourne, Australia

24 April – 2 June, 2012

screenshot from Untitled by Ren Bo

Facing East presents the broad range of contemporary art from Chinese artists, covering the continuing presence of China’s deep traditions, the ambiguity of the connections between recent history and daily life, and the place of Chinese society on a precarious balancing point between the influx and outflow of social and culture tides.

To “face East” is essentially an act of looking from “here” to an “other” culture, with both sides often conveniently proscribed as monolithic. The assumptions based on this starting point are such common occurrences that we perhaps don’t give them a second thought. Over the years the theories of Post colonialism have developed the idea of the periphery, away from the hegemonic “West,” but equally away from an assumption of a coherent “East.”

China is but one part of this “East” and within China there are many developments, fast and slow, which afford a myriad of images and perspectives. Like any society, China is in continual development, and—if we are paying attention—continually subverts our assumptions about it.

In Facing East we see works by recent generations of artists, living out their own internalised and internationalised histories and cultures in vivid and vibrant ways, taking on or discarding influences as openly as they reflect or reject their own.

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