The People’s Currency

MELBOURNE. 14 – 19 FEBRUARY 2017.

The People’s Currency is a new performance work by Melbourne-based artist Eugenia Lim. The work takes its name from Renminbi (China’s currency) and explores the social impacts of globalisation on those who seek their fortunes in the factories of China – or the ‘workshop of the world’. When almost everything is now ‘Made in China’, how are we all implicated as consumers, in the labour conditions of the production line? Dressed as a gold Mao-suited ‘ambassador’, Lim will inhabit a factory printing counterfeit currency of her own design. Presiding over the printing of money, Lim will also act as floor manager to a ‘factory’ of workers. The public is invited to enter into short-term ‘employment’ on the factory floor. In exchange for basic menial work, the ‘employee’ will be remunerated in The People’s Currency. The People’s Currency turns a site in Melbourne’s CBD into ‘Renminconn’, a closed loop ‘special economic zone’. In Lim’s project, mass-production and money-printing become strategies for contemplating the human impact of the ‘long march’ of global capitalism.

Eugenia Lim (b. 1981 Melbourne, Australia) is an Australian artist of Chinese–Singaporean descent who works across video, performance and installation. Interested in how nationalism and stereotypes are formed, Lim invents personas to explore the tensions of an individual within society – the alienation and belonging in a globalised world.

Conflations between authenticity, mimicry, natural, man-made, historical and anachronistic are important to the work. To this end, Lim finds inspiration in sites and objects that are both ‘contemporary’ and ‘out of time’, embodied and virtual. Model homes, suburban sprawl, CCTV, online chat rooms, fake food, historical parks and the Australian landscape have all featured in the work. Counterpoint to these sites, Lim has performed the identities of Japanese hikikomori; a Bowie-eyed rock star; the cannibal Issei Sagawa; a suburban beautician; Miranda from Picnic at Hanging Rock and currently, a gold Mao-suited ‘Ambassador’. This dialogue between place and performance reflects the push-pull between Australian and Asian, the mono and the multi-cultural.

Lim’s work has been exhibited internationally at venues including the Tate Modern, GOMA, ACMI, HUN Gallery NY, and FACT Liverpool. She has received a number of Australia Council for the Arts grants and residencies, including a residency at the Experimental Television Centre NY and exchange at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). She is currently an artist-in-residence at Bundanon Trust. Collaboration, artistic community and the intersection between art and society informs her practice: in addition to her solo work, she co-directed the inaugural Channels: the Australian Video Art Festival, is a board member at Next Wave, the founding editor of Assemble Papers and co-founder of interdisciplinary collective Tape Projects.

 

government-partners-2

 

Familiar Stranger

SYDNEY. 7 APRIL – 21 MAY 2017.

Artists: Shumon Ahmed, Chun Yin Rainbow Chan, Bashir Makhoul, Veer Munshi, Shireen Taweel and Curtis Taylor.

The reconciliation between memory and reality plagues the act of returning. There is no resolution between the two. Memories are etched into the psyche hinged on topographical monuments, whispered words and subconscious everyday patterns while reality erases such symbology through the passing of time. Familiar Stranger examines this third, non-existent space that plagues the returnee as they seek to retrace their memories in places that have been rebuilt or reinscribed. With familiarity reduced to invisible archaeological sites the returnee searches for recognition and legitimacy in a now unacquainted geography.

The exhibiting artists examine the negation and erasure of familiarity by presenting place as a space defined by uncertainty. There is a continue shift between points of view that begets the collapse of spatial certainty and becomes defined by its own instability. For the migrant the idea of returning becomes an implicit part of their identity; the constant oscillation between the possibility and impossibility of return a daily taunt. In Familiar Stranger the moment of return is the focal point where, for some, it is a wistful hope and for others a violent decimation of expectancy. Resisting melodrama, the artists turn to the familial archive and the personal memorial to bring form to the constant internal struggle between what is and what was.

 

PUBLIC PROGRAMS:

Exhibition Opening:
6.00pm – 8.00pm Thursday 6 April
Exhibition to be opened by Brendan O’Flynn, Human Rights Watch.
Opening performance from Chun Yin Rainbow Chan from 7PM – 7.30PM
RSVP here.

Panel Discussion:
2.00pm – 3.00pm Saturday 8 April
Join Familiar Stranger artists Chun Yin Rainbow Chan and Shireen Taweel, Fairfield Parents’ Cafe team leader Haitham Jaju and 4A Director Mikala Tai for a discussion about the realities and experiences of returning from migrant, refugee and artistic perspectives. RSVP here.

Chun Yin Rainbow Chan Performances:
Visit 4A at the following times to see Chun Yin Rainbow Chan perform as part of her Familiar Stranger work:
11.30am Saturday 22 April
2.00pm Saturday 29 April

Cantonese Language Classes:
As part of the public program for Familiar Stranger, the public are invited to join us for weekly Cantonese language classes on Thursday nights for the duration of the exhibition. With a curriculum curated by Chun Yin Rainbow Chan, join us for these one-hour classes to either refresh or learn new language skills and gain a further insight into Chan’s work. Find out more here – bookings open soon!

 

 

I don’t want to be there when it happens

SYDNEY. 18 AUGUST – 8 OCTOBER 2017.

Raj Kumar, Sonia Leber & David Chesworth and Adeela Suleman.

I don’t want to be there when it happens brings together artists who explore the psychology of contemporary trauma. Recent works by Raj Kumar, Sonia Leber & David Chesworth and Adeela Suleman all confront the larger socio-political realities of Pakistan in the era of contemporary warfare. Through video and installation, the artists address the experience of the individual in the midst of a continuous state of war. By scanning the landscape with nonsensical logic, futilely seeking to document destruction, and questioning the appropriation of religion, the artworks in the exhibition avoid resolution and closure. Instead, they highlight the individual’s inability to comprehend the expansive uncertainty of combat, and the impossibilities of representing the trauma of conflict.

I don’t want to be there when it happens presents truth as a precarious oscillation between fiction and reality. The artists resist literal or documentary approaches to their subjects, relying instead on speculative, symbolic, ambiguous and unstable modes of representation. In doing so, they emphasise how the individual’s attempts to understand and comprehend the reality of contemporary conflict are equally characterised by uncertainty and irresolvability. I don’t want to be there when it happens also seeks to acknowledge and present a multiplicity of perspectives on the ongoing conflicts in Pakistan and its region—perspectives which are all too easily overlooked or obscured by Western media and political interests.

 

Adeela Suleman’s work to be shown in I don’t want to be there when it happens has been co-commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and The Keir Foundation.

 

Code of Conduct

 SYDNEY.  27 OCTOBER  – 10 DECEMBER 2017.

Code of Conduct is a group exhibition of work by artists from across Australia and the Pacific whose practices explore the movement of cultural practices and commodities throughout the region. It focuses on a group of artists for whom artistic production develops out of a complex and interlaced constellation of references from across the globe that are used to navigate their local conditions. Strategies of piracy, bootlegging and appropriation are deployed by these artists in an attempt to contribute to a visual language that is at once responsive to their local conditions but able to circulate within a global context. The artists negotiate new notions of originality and authorship through developing a network of collaborators as both producers of and consumers of cultural output.Code of Conduct speaks to how artistic practices can become tools to navigate the  complexities of exchange where networked realities blur regionality.