James Jirat Patradoon: ULTRA

SYDNEY

4A @WORLD SQUARE

CORNER GOULBURN AND GEORGE STREETS, SYDNEY

29 JANUARY – 28 FEBRUARY 2021

Presented in partnership with World Square, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art presents for Lunar New Year 2021 the 14th solo exhibition of Thai-Australian multidisciplinary artist James Jirat Patradoon.

Commissioned as part of Sydney Lunar Festival 2021, ULTRA reinterprets traditional and contemporary Chinese Zodiac iconography into an immersive installation experience. Curated by 4A’s Con Gerakaris, and drawing upon Eastern and Western graphic concepts spanning manga, tattoo illustrations and product design, Patradoon’s encompassing murals and installation work reframe the 2021 Zodiac symbol of the Metal Ox.

Reflecting upon the cycle of rebirth each new year, the artist has composed hypercoloured scenes of life and death as acts in a fictionalised Chinese opera. Featuring compositions of Yama, Buddhism’s wrathful King of Hell, facing off against an anthropomorphised chrome-clad ox fan dancer, the scene also reveals an otherworldly beast and a bewitching leading lady in performance grandeur. These striking characters flank the centrepiece of ULTRA: a wicked, customised motorcycle assemblage adorned with an ox skull. Taking cues from his well-known illustrative practice, Patradoon’s first sculptural work rides his signature line between realism and fantasy heightened by mesmeric lighting to challenge the viewer’s experience of viewing art.

Patradoon says, “For the works in ULTRA, I imagined a cosmic Chinese opera with characters representing the Metal Ox and King Yama (Buddhist Deity of Death) in opposition: 2021 vs 2020. I see 2021 as a year of rebirth and recovery from the terror of 2020, a year of prosperity and success. I hope we can rise transformed, and dance once again.”

ULTRA will be on view from 29 January – 28 February 2021 at 4A’s offsite gallery at World Square. As part of the exhibition, 4A will host a panel talk with Patradoon on Saturday 13 February, followed by Patradoon’s digital illustration workshop on Saturday 27 February.

 


James Jirat Patradoon (b. 1985, Thailand, lives and works in Bangkok, Thailand and Sydney, Australia) is a primarily illustrative artist working across installation, painting and graphic design. Patradoon’s work is informed by a wealth of cultural references: from 80s aesthetics and 90s fashion, to comic books and tattoo design, he renders his ideas in flashes of neon and monochrome. Fusing Japanese anime with pop-horror and searing, luminous colours, his work is clean and graphic, exploring humanities depths and fractures and creating his own hyperreal infernal paradise.

Patradoon’s recent solo exhibitions include Inferno (2019), Superchief Gallery, Los Angeles; Death Metal Hands (2018), Lamington Drive Gallery, Melbourne; Fever (2016) Superchief Gallery, New York City; and Bodyache (2016), Goodspace, Sydney. He has been included in several group exhibitions and festivals including Art Basel Miami (2019), Miami; Violent By Design (2017), Exhibit A Gallery, Los Angeles, MediaLive Festival (2017), Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Boulder, Colorado; Pow Wow Hawaii (2016), Honolulu; and Hit The Bricks (2014), Look Hear, Newcastle. His standalone style has led to work with high profile international clientele, including collaborations with the likes of Coca Cola, Facebook, HBO and Microsoft.

 

TOURING: Eugenia Lim: The Ambassador

COFFS HARBOUR, NSW

COFFS HARBOUR REGIONAL GALLERY CULTURE HUB

20 NOV 2020 – 16 JAN 2021

Eugenia Lim is an Australian artist of Chinese–Singaporean descent who works across video, performance and installation. In her work, Lim transforms herself into invented fictional personas who traverse through time and cultures to explore how national identities and stereotypes cut, divide and bond our globalised world.

This 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and Museums & Galleries of NSW (M&G NSW) initiated touring project presents Lim’s most recent body of work, The Ambassador seriesIn this three-part project, Lim takes on a Mao-like persona who sits halfway between truth and fantasy –  dressed in a gold lamé suit and matching bowl haircut. Throughout each of her works, the Ambassador takes on new roles in uncovering the Australian-Asian narrative – drilling down into racial politics, the social costs of manufacturing and the role of architecture in shaping society.

Visitors have commented:

“Wonderful revelation”

“Absurd and profound”

“What an incredible exhibition”

Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, SA

Part 1: Yellow Peril (2015)

Yellow Peril contemplates the fraught stories from the first wave of Chinese migrants seeking to make their fortunes in the Australian gold rush. The 17-minute featurette transports Lim’s Ambassador to the Sovereign Hill theme park, an open air museum that reimagines 1850’s Ballarat, Victoria. Mixing in with a cast of modern-day visitors and historical theme-park actors, Eugenia’s lone Ambassador silently wanders throughout the site from dawn to dusk. She partakes in gold mining, inspects machinery and eventually strikes gold and ‘wins big’. However, throughout the process, Lim’s Ambassador seems twice removed – silent, isolated and ambiguous – appearing as a literal and cultural relic from another time and place.

Exhibited alongside is the sculptural gold nugget featured in the video work and two photographs printed on gold emergency blankets – one picturing the artist’s hopeful parents shortly after their arrival in Australia in front of Ron Robertson-Swann’s public sculpture Vault (1980)or better known in Melbourne as ‘yellow peril’.

These poetic elements draw careful attention to the local and personal experiences for many first-generation Chinese migrants, including Lim’s own parents, and the social costs of seeking fortune in a faraway land.

Part 2: The People’s Currency (2017)

When almost everything is now ‘Made in China’, how are we, as consumers, implicated in the poor labour conditions of the production line? – Eugenia Lim

Borrowing its name from the renminbi (China’s Currency), The People’s Currency turns the gallery into ‘Renminconn’, a closed-loop ‘special economic zone’. Within this zone Lim dressed as the Chairman Mao-like, gold-suited Ambassador, stands over her factory of counterfeit money-printing and ceramic imitation electronic consumer goods. As the Ambassador, Lim invites the public to enter into ‘short-term employment’ as shift workers on her factory floor, completing a menial yet meditative task. Based on her satisfaction with the completed product, she will remunerate the ‘employee’ with her counterfeit notes printed on site – The People’s Currency.

In Lim’s project, this collision of mass-production, menial work and counterfeit currency become strategies to evaluate the two-fold impacts of global capitalism – on those who seek their fortunes in the factories of China or ‘the workshop of the world’, and the global consumers of these ubiquitous and aspirational products.

Part 3: The Australian Ugliness (2018)

Lim’s latest project surveys the role of architecture in marking a society and shaping national identity. The work has been titled after the bestselling book by Robin Boyd, arguably one of Australia’s most prominent architects and Modernists. Boyd’s The Australian Ugliness denounces the conservative, kitsch and decorative tastes of post-war 1950s Australia, warning against parochialism and insularity. Lim will build upon these ideas, transporting them into 21st century Australia.

This multi-channel video work, will see the Ambassador lead a wide-ranging tour of iconic public and private spaces in Australian cities. The work will insert a female and Asian identity on screen and into the built environment of our cities – spaces still dominated by macho-white taste. Throughout her journey, The Ambassador will interrogate the tensions between globalism and localism, natural and the cultural and the importance of understanding Boyd’s featurism today in the Asian century.

Curated by Mikala Tai, Director, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, The Ambassador is travelling to eight galleries and art centres across Australia between 2019 and 2021 through Museums & Galleries of NSW.

A 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and Museums & Galleries of NSW touring exhibition. This project is assisted by the Australian Government’s Visions of Australia program

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I am a heart beating in the world: Diaspora Pavilion 2, Sydney

Diaspora Pavilion 2 will be presented in 2021, more details to follow. 


Exhibition artists: Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Kashif Nadim Chaudry, Lindy Lee, Leyla Stevens, Zadie Xa and Daniela Yohannes.

I am a heart beating in the world is the first of a series of peripatetic international events that culminate in the second edition of International Curators Forum’s (ICF) Diaspora Pavilion being planned to take place during the Venice Biennale 2021. 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is collaborating with ICF to present this unfolding series that will interrogate and complicate the term diaspora. As the first project of the series, I am a heart beating in the world presents the navigations, imaginings and lived experiences of diasporic subjectivities through the works of six artists based in Australia, the UK and Caribbean: Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Kashif Nadim Chaudry, Lindy Lee, Leyla Stevens, Zadie Xa, Daniela Yohannes.

Understanding diaspora as a distinct sometimes provisional experience nuanced economically, historically and regionally I am a heart beating in the world is as much an exhibition as it is a research project, underpinned by fieldwork and reviews of how artists, curators, theorists and institutions engage with diaspora as a topic. 4A’s biannual 4A Curators Intensive will be held alongside the exhibition in April bringing together early-career Australian curators alongside a UK based early career curator for a week-long professional development program. The intensive will be facilitated through workshops, lectures, site visits and discussions.

Artist Biographies:

Abdul-Rahman Abdullah (b. Port Kembla, Australia 1977 lives and works in Perth, Australia) is a sculpture whose practice explores the different ways that memory can inhabit and emerge from familial spaces. Drawing on the narrative capacity of animal archetypes, crafted objects and the human presence, Abdullah aims to articulate physical dialogues between the natural world, politics and the agency of culture. Recent exhibitions include The National, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia (2019), Dark Horizons, Pataka Art + Museum, Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand (2017) and Magic ObjectAdelaide Biennale of Australian Art, Adelaide, Australia (2016).

Kashif Nadim Chaudry (b. Nottingham, United Kingdom 1976 lives and works in Nottingham, United Kingdom) is informed by his family heritage in tailoring which has influenced and focused his practice around the importance of materiality and craftsmanship. His work is characterised by the working, shaping and moulding of physical objects through the use of elaborate textile-based techniques to create monumental installations from fabric and found objects. Negotiating his identity as a British born gay man of Pakistani Muslim heritage much of Chaudry’s work questions how people choose to position themselves in the world. In relation, it is increasingly the sculptural and three-dimensional possibilities within his work that address the idea of positioning power, the sacred and the ceremonial. Recent exhibitions include Swags & Tails as part of the Asia Triennial, Manchester, UK (2014) and The Three Graces, Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK (2016).

Lindy Lee (b. Brisbane, Australia 1954 lives and works in Byron Bay, Australia) has an expansive practice that explores her Chinese ancestry through Taoism and Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism – philosophies that see humanity and nature as inextricably linked. Symbolic gestures and processes that call on the element of chance are often used to produce a galaxy of images that embody the intimate connections between human existence and the cosmos. Rather than singular visual statements, they are thoughtful objects where meaning emerges from sustained meditation. Recent exhibitions include the solo Lindy Lee: The Dark of Absolute Freedom, The University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane, Australia (2014), and group exhibitions Divided Worlds: Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia (2018) and Marking Time, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia (2012).

Leyla Stevens (b. Cooroy, Australia 1982 lives and works between Bali, Indonesia and Sydney, Australia) is an Australian-Balinese artist and researcher who works predominately within moving image and photography. Her practice is informed by ongoing concerns around gesture, ritual, spatial encounters, transculturation and counter histories. Working within modes of representation that shift between the documentary and speculative fictions, her work deals with a notion of counter archives and alternative genealogies. Recent exhibitions include her solo presentations Their Sea is Always Hungry, UTS Gallery, Sydney, Australia (2019) and Of Love and Decomposition, Firstdraft, Sydney, Australia (2016) and group exhibitions Breathing Room (collaboration with Woven Kolektif), Cement Fondue, Sydney, Australia (2019), BEAUT 19, Brisbane & Elsewhere Art UnTriennial, Brisbane, Australia (2018) and the John Fries Award, UNSW Galleries, Sydney, Australia (2018).

Daniela Yohannes (b.1982 lives and works in Guadeloupe, in the French Carribean) is a British-Eritrean/Ethiopian artist who, since training, as an illustrator has meandered through several disciplines before becoming an artist. Since moving to the Caribbean two years ago, her surroundings have found their way into her creations. She describes her inspiration as that of the invisible; the forces and concepts that drive and surround us: unseen but constantly at work on our bodies and minds. Her paintings and recent moving image works are witness to the expression of nature; explorations of the intimate experiences that are shared only with the elements: earth, air, water, and space. She confronts themes of the unconscious, race, identity and ancestry, the ethereal nature of the cosmos and plurality of the individual – interrogating the nature of belonging and what constitutes that feeling of ‘home’ and the impact and consequences of alienation. Recent solo exhibitions include; The Fall: A Woman’s descent into the Unconscious, Addis Fine Art Project Space London, UK, (2019), Beyond Voudou, The Pikture Gallery Bangkok, Thailand (2010) and group exhibitions Influence Project, Real Music Rebels East Wing Takeover, Somerset House London, UK, (2018) and House of Wahala Project Texas, USA (2017).

Zadie Xa (b. Vancouver, Canada 1983 lives and works in London, United Kingdom) explores the overlapping and conflation of cultures that inform self-conceptualisation identities and notion of self through performance, video, painting and textiles. Her layered textile works are sites for exploring contemporary identity construction and performance through cultural sampling, informed by her own experience within the Asian diaspora. Xa’s intricate, hand sewn wearable and performable garments stitch together a range of personally relevant imagery sourced from music, digital space, fashion, and art history. Xa has developed a system of personalised semiotics that propose entirely new images and objects, creating a personal visual language for articulating nuanced Asian identity narratives, which are frequently situated within fantastical or supernatural realms. Recent solo exhibitions include Meetings on Art performance program for the Venice Biennale open week (2019), Child of Magohalmi and the Echos of Creation, Yarat Contemporary Art Space, Baku, Azerbaijan (2019) and Soju Sipping on a Sojourn to Saturn, Galeria Agustina Ferreyra, Mexico (2018).

I am a heart beating in the world: Diaspora Pavilion 2, Sydney is presented in partnership with International Curators Forum and with support from Outset. This project has been supported by The British Council.
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For us sinners

For us sinners will be presented in 2021, more details to follow. 


Exhibition artist: Marikit Santiago

The garden of Eden, as told by the Book of Genesis in the Bible, is home to the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil that is guarded by a serpent. The craftiest of God’s creations, the serpent persuades Eve to disobey her creator and eat the forbidden fruit, sharing a piece with Adam. This rebellion is discovered by God, who banishes the pair from paradise, sending humankind into the realm of worldly experience, including death, suffering, the inclination to sin, the loss of sanctifying grace and guilty conscious. From herein, the children of Adam and Eve are punished with this hereditary condition, known as ‘original sin’.

Historically understood within Catholicism as a story of temptation and sin brought on by the weakness of woman and the suppleness of the snake, Sydney based painter, Marikit Santiago reframes and complicates this history in a series of commissioned paintings. Combining the narrative power of Catholicism and the western art canon with her lived Australian-Filipino experience, For us sinners explores ‘original sin’ by freeing the story from its gendered taint of weakness and guilt. In a series of emotionally charged works that question the themes of utopia and dystopia, control and transgression, duty and autonomy, sex and sexual difference, paradise and exile, Santiago’s first institutional solo exhibition offers nuanced parables fit for the current moment.

Artist Biography:

Marikit Santiago (b. 1985, Melbourne. Lives and works in Western Sydney, Australia).  Marikit Santiago’s sculptural and painting practice co-opt references, imagery and symbolism from her Australian-Fillipino ancestry, Catholicism and the Western Art Cannon to interrogate the contradictory sensations, values and ideas that exist at her plural identities. In September 2020, Santiago was announced as the winner of the Sir John Sulman Prize for her work, The divine, which is currently on view in the Archibald, Sulman and Wynne Prizes exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW until 10 January 2021. Santiago’s notable exhibitions include Bayanihan Philippine Art Project (2017) at Art Gallery New South Wales, Blacktown Arts Centre, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Mosman Art Gallery and Peacock Gallery; New Sacred (2018) at Mosman Art Gallery; I LOVE YOU MELISSA (2018), The Lock Up; Mahal (2018), Firstdraft and Everyday Madonna (2019), Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. Santiago has been selected as a finalist for the Art Gallery of NSW’s Archibald Prize in 2016, received the Sam Whiteley Commendation Award in the 2018 Churchie Emerging Art Prize, Institute of Modern Art and is a 2019 finalist of the Sulman Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales. In 2018, she was shortlisted for Create NSW’s Visual Arts Emerging Fellowship. Santiago also holds a Bachelor of Medical Science (2007), a Bachelor of Fine Art (Honours Class I) in 2011 and a Master of Fine Art in 2017 from the University of New South Wales. During this time, she was awarded a Dean’s Award for her undergraduate degree and the Australian Postgraduate Award for her Masters degree. Her work features in private and public collections in Australia.

Drawn by stones

Drawn by stones will be presented in 2021, more details to follow. 

Exhibition artists: Dean Cross and more to be announced

Drawn by stones brings together artists who utilise the ceramic medium to interrogate contested histories, stolen land, Indigenous sovereignty, and concepts of national identity. Exhibiting artists from Australia, Hong Kong and Taiwan investigate the creation of a sense of ‘nationhood’ and ownership through ceramics and demonstrate how the ceramic form can both memorialise and tell alternative histories.

The exhibition is grounded by the 2020 installation of Monuments, Dean Cross’ site-responsive work – an ongoing project since 2016, intended for exhibition every two years. Cross’ Monuments challenges colonial concepts of ceramics, memorialising and memory, with handfuls of white ochre – handfuls of Ngunnawal/ Ngambri Country – gathered by the artist’s father on their property with permission from local elder and custodian of the land Aunty Matilda House – building a grid that spreads across the gallery floors.

Taking its title from Marvin Bell’s 1984 poem Drawn by Stones, by Earth, by Things That Have Been in the Fire, this exhibition recognises that the foundations of ceramic practice lie in the earth – and through the work of exhibiting artists, aims to expand the relevance of ceramic histories, dialogues and interrogations of land, place, sovereignty and ownership across Asia and Australia.

Artist Biography:

Dean Cross was born and raised on Ngunnawal/Ngambri Country and is of Worimi descent. He is a trans-disciplinary artist primarily working across installation, sculpture and photography. His career began in contemporary dance, performing and choreographing nationally and internationally for over a decade with Australia’s leading dance companies. Following that Dean re-trained as a visual artist, gaining his Bachelor’s degree from Sydney College of the Arts, and his First Class Honours from the ANU School of Art and Design.

Dean has shown his work extensively across Australia. This includes the Indigenous Ceramic Prize at the Shepparton Art Musuem, curated by Anna Briers and Belinda Briggs (2018), Tarnanthi at the Art Gallery of South Australia, curated by Nici Cumpston (2017), RUNS DEEP a solo show at Alaska Projects, Sydney (2018), The Churchie Emerging Art Prize (2016), The Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize (2015), and the Macquarie Group Emerging Art Prize (2015) where his work was awarded the Highly Commended prize by artist Joan Ross. In 2018 Dean has also exhibited at the Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney, as a part of the NEXTWAVE Festival Melbourne, with curator Amelia Winata, and at Artbank, Sydney in Talia Smith’s In a World of Wounds. Also, Dean has been a year-long Artist in Residence at the Canberra Contemporary Art Space (CCAS). Dean was also selected to be a part of the 4A Beijing Studio Residency Program in Beijing, China.