4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art fosters excellence and innovation in contemporary Asian and Australian culture through research, documentation, development, discussion and presentation of contemporary visual art.
We believe that Asian cultural thinking will have an important impact on the future. 4A’s aim is to ensure contemporary visual art plays a central role in understanding the dynamic relationship between Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.
4A has a distinctive approach to addressing Australia’s cultural diversity through a dynamic program including local and international exhibitions, public programs, workshops, seminars, symposiums and community activities. These have been recognised locally and internationally as having raised awareness of Asian-Australian art and culture and Australia‘s place in the Asia-Pacific region.
The 4A Curators’ Intensive is an initiative developed by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art to encourage professional advancement among early career Australian cultural practitioners with an interest in curatorial practice. Together with 4A, leading curators from the Asia-Pacific host a week of workshops, artists’ studio visits and discussions that seek to encourage the next generation of Australian curators to create sustainable working methodologies that extend between Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. It is an opportunity for practicing curators to interrogate their methodologies and learn not only from the visiting curators but also their peers. Now in its third edition the 4A Curators' Intensive is recognised as a rigorous and rewarding program. In addition to the closed program of 4A Curators’ Intensive designed for the participants, the international curators present keynotes at 4A. Open to the public, these talks focus on each curator’s current work and the curatorial context, art histories and cultural climates in which there are working.
The Curators’ Intensive is an initiative of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and has been made possible with the support of the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund. *Applications will open in April 2018 for the next 4A Curators' Intensive.
2016The 2016 4A Curators' Intensive will be lead by: Zarmeené Shah is an independent curator and critic currently based in Karachi, Pakistan. Returning to Karachi after an MA in Critical & Curatorial Studies from Columbia University in 2010, she has curated several notable and often large-scale exhibitions, both institutionally and independently. She has previously held positions of Lecturer at the Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture, Chief Curator of the IVS Gallery, Karachi, Independent Consultant for South Asian Art for the CCA Derry-Londonderry (Northern Ireland), and most recently Assistant Director at the Mohatta Palace Museum, Karachi. Focusing on contemporary art and continental and semiotic theory, she is particularly interested in new media, the body, and the political in art. As a writer, she regularly contributes to academic journals, catalogues as well as several print and online publications, including The Herald Pakistan, ArtAsiaPacific, ArtReview and ArtReview Asia magazines.
Pooja Sood is an independent Curator and Art Management Consultant based in New Delhi, India. Working field of curating alternative contemporary art practices in India as well as exploring different models of institution building for contemporary art, with expertise in the establishing and running of cultural networks. She is committed to developing the infrastructure for the arts in India and develop ongoing dialogue in south Asia. Sood is the Director of KHOJ International Artists’ Association, an autonomous, artists’ led registered society aimed at promoting intercultural understanding through experimentation and exchange. It is possibly the only such public organization for experimental contemporary art in India. As a founding member of Khoj she coordinated the KHOJ International artist’s workshop in Delhi from 1998-2001, facilitated the workshops in Bangalore 2002-2003, in Mumbai 2005, Kolkata2006 and Srinagar 2007. Sood is the Regional Coordinator of the international artists’ network facilitated by the Triangle Arts Trust , UK. In May 2009 she assumed Directorship of the project Arthinksouthasia. Sood was on the selection committee of the Fukuoka Triennale # 4, Japan ( Jan 09), the Transmediale Award, Berlin( Oct 2008) and the Sovereign Art Prize, Hong Kong ( October 2008). She is on the board of the Delhi Biennale Society, New Delhi and the South Asian journal of visual culture, Sri Lanka; she is also on the Academic Advisory Board of the Asian Art Archive, Hong Kong starting 2007- 2009 .
Carol Yinghua Lu lives in Beijing. She is a PhD scholar in art history at the University of Melbourne. She is a contributing editor at Frieze and is on the advisory board of The Exhibitionist. Lu was on the jury for the Golden Lion Award at the 2011 Venice Biennale. She also served as co-artistic director of the 2012 Gwangju Biennale and co-curator of the 7th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale in 2012. From 2012 to 2015, she was the artistic director and chief curator of OCAT Shenzhen. Lu was the first visiting fellow in the Asia-Pacific Fellowship program at the Tate Research Centre in 2013.
Khaled Sabsabi is a Sydney-based visual artist of Lebanese descent. He has been a recipient of the Blake Art Prize 2011, Helen Lempriere Scholarship and an Australia Council for the Arts Fellowship and have participated in the New Media Fest, SoundLAB, Beirut Arts Festival, Electrofringe, Canberra Contemporary Art Space, the Monographic Sample of Art Average Colombia and 3rd Digital Art Festival in Argentina and Italy. He has also presented solo exhibitions in Sydney at Campbelltown Arts Centre, Casula Powerhouse, Gallery 4A and Mori Gallery, and has exhibited in group exhibitions including Making It New: Focus on Contemporary Australian Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; Out of Place, Kunstverein Tiergarten, Berlin; Integration, Assimilation and a fair go for ALL, Gallery 4A; Soft Power: Asian Attitudes, Shanghai Zendai Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai, China; ASIA – EUROPE Mediations, National Gallery, Poland; The Resilient Landscape, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Sydney; Interdigitate, The Moving Image Centre, Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand; Living Here Now – Art and Politics, Y2K, Australian Perspecta.
The 2016 participating emerging curators are:Hanann Al Daqqa (VIC)Joanna Bayndrian (NSW)Micheal Do (NSW)Alana Hunt (WA)Anabelle Lacroix (VIC)Luke Letourneau (NSW)Melissa McGrath (SA)Laura McLean (NSW)Adam Porter (NSW)Talia Smith (NSW)Amelia Wallin (NSW)
2014The 2014 4A Curators' Intensive was led by:
Cosmin Costinas is the Executive Director of the Para/site Art Space, Hong Kong’s leading non-profit organisation dedicated to contemporary visual art. He was born in Satu Mare, Romania in 1982. His was previously curator of BAK in the Netherlands; co-director of the 2010 Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art, ; and editor of the magazine documenta 12. Major exhibitions include Taiping Tianguo: A History of Possible Encounters: Ai Weiwei, Frog King Kwok, Tehching Hsieh, and Martin Wong in New Yorkfor Para/site (2012); Spacecraft Icarus 13. Narratives of Progress from Elsewhere and In the Middle of Things for BAK (2011), and I, the Undersigned, a touring exhibition at the Institute of International Visual Arts in London, the Lunds Konsthall in Lund, tranzit+display in Prague, and Württembergischer Kunstverein in Stuttgart (2010–2011).Watch Cosmin Costinas' keynote here.
Dr Sophie McIntyre is a curator, art writer and lecturer with a particular interest in contemporary Asian art. After working for more than seventeen years as an art curator and gallery director, she completed a PhD on the impact of identity politics on artistic and exhibitionary practices during the post-martial law period in Taiwan. Sophie has lived in China and Taiwan and curated several art exhibitions from this region that have toured nationally and internationally. These include Penumbra (2007); Islanded: Contemporary Art from New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan (2005) (co-curated with Lee Weng Choy and Eugene Tan), Concrete Horizons: Art from China (2004) and Face to Face: Contemporary Art from Taiwan (1999-2000). She has given papers and published extensively on this field in exhibition catalogues, books and journals. Sophie was employed as a curator and gallery director of two university art museums in Australia and New Zealand, and prior to this time she worked at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and in other public and commercial galleries in Sydney and Brisbane. Watch Sophie McIntyre's keynote here.
Robin Peckham is an editor and curator based between Hong Kong and Beijing. He operated the independent exhibition space Saamlung, Hong Kong from 2011-2013, and has organised exhibitions for institutions including the City University of Hong Kong; Goethe-Institut, Hong Kong; and Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing. Peckham has lectured at the University of Hong Kong City University, and Asia Art Archive. His writing is published in Artforum, LEAP, Monopol and Yishu, as well as books for the Minsheng Art Museum, Para/site Art Space, and Timezone8, including publications on video art pioneer Zhang Peili and architectural interventionists MAP Office. Watch Robin Peckham's keynote here.
The 2014 participating emerging curators were:Miriam Arbus (VIC) Mira Asriningtyas (INDONESIA) Andrew Ewing (NT) Sebastian Goldspink (NSW)Sophie Kitson (NSW) Alana Kushnir (VIC) Tess Maunder (QLD) Tulleah Pearce (NSW) Kyle Weise (VIC) Chloé Wolifson (NSW) Gintani Nur Apresia Swastika (INDONESIA) Luisa Tresca (NSW) The 2014 Curators’ Intensive was an initiative of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and was made possible with the support of Sue Acret & James Roth and the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund. 4A acknowledges the support of the Northern Centre for Contemporary Art.
2012The inaugural 4A Curators' Intensive was led by: Qiu Zhijie – an internationally renowned artist, curator and educator. Qiu is a professor at the School of Inter-media Art at the China Art Academy, the Director of Total Art Studio and member of the supervisory team at the Art and Social Thoughts Institute. As an active artist, Qiu’s artworks take a variety of forms such as calligraphy, painting, photography, video, installation and theatre and have been shown at a large number of art museums across the world. Appointed the Chief Curator of 9th Shanghai Biennale 2012, Qiu will draw on his extensive experience and lead the group with his critique of contemporary curatorial practices and issues currently relating to them. Qiu’s works are collected by individual and institutional collectors home and abroad. His solo exhibitions are held in art museums such as Haus of World Culture in Berlin 2009, Ullens Contemporary Art Center in Beijing in 2009 and Zendai Museum of Modern Art in Shanghai in 2008. He participated in exhibitions such as the 53rd Venice Biennale, 25th Sao Paulo Biennale and “New Art in China, Post-1989”. Qiu has previously curated “Phenomena and Image” in 1996, a series of exhibitions with the theme of “Post-sense Sensibility” between 1999 and 2004, “Long March, A Walking Visual Display” in 2002, the video part of the First Guangzhou Triennial and “Archeology of Future: The Second Triennial of Chinese Art” in 2005. He is also a prolific and influential writer and has published many art theory books such as “Image and Post-modernism”, “Give Me A Mask”, “The Boundary of Freedom”, “The Scene is Most Important”, “Photography After Photography”, “Basic Course in Total Art Creation”. His latest book “On Total Art” will be published soon. The 2012 participating emerging curators were: Bronwyn Bailey-Charteris (VIC)Martina Baroncelli (NSW)Toby Chapman (NSW)Janis Ferberg (NSW)Joel Mu (NSW) Macushla Robinson (NSW)Joseph Scott (VIC)Adele Sliuzas (SA)Veronica Tello (NSW/VIC)Samuel Zammit (NSW) The 2012 Curators’ Intensive was an initiative of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and was made possible with the support of ARNDT and the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.
4A’s Beijing Studio Program is a unique initiative that sees two early career Australian artists embark on a month-long residency in September each year at the studios of renowned Chinese Australian artist, Shen Shaomin. The program provides a valuable opportunity for artists to research new projects in rich cultural surroundings, build professional networks and observe the changes taking place in one of the most important cities in the Asian region. On return to Australia artists will be invited to present their experiences in a public forum and make a proposal for an exhibition at 4A. If successful they will be mentored by 4A in the development of an exhibition in the subsequent. 2015 is the fourth consecutive year that the program has been running. The program provides airfares, accommodation, daily meals, the cost of travel/medical insurance and a small stipend. 4A also provides an ongoing professional mentorship, cross-cultural exchange and access to 4A’s networks in China. The Beijing Studio Program is an annual program of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Major supporter: Vicki Olsson.
About Shen Shaomin
Over the past twenty years Chinese-Australian artist Shen Shaomin has forged an important international career with an emphasis on experimental, conceptual and installation works. Based in Beijing, and having spent over a decade in Australia, Shen’s work spans a number of mediums and explores individual and collective experiences of humanity and their impacts on our natural and constructed surroundings. Shen Shaomin has previously exhibited with 4A in The Floating Eye, Sydney Pavilion, 9th Shanghai Biennale (2012); and presented the solo exhibition, The Day After Tomorrow (2011). His work has been included in Liverpool Biennial (2006) and the 17th Biennale of Sydney (2010). In China he has exhibited at Today Art Museum, Beijing; Tang Contemporary, Beijing; Platform China, Beijing; Shanghai Zendai MoMA, Shanghai; and Osage Gallery, Hong Kong. Across Europe and North America selected exhibitions include, Groniger Museum, Holland; Urs Meile Gallery, Switzerland; ZKM Museum Karlrusche, Germany; Millennium Park, Chicago and Eli Klein Fine Art, New York
Shen Shaomin Studios, Huairou District, Beijing
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Past Beijing Studio Program Participants
Claudia Nicholson, Baby I Would Climb The Andes (2014), Silleta made of plywood and native Australian flowers, Image courtesy the artist and Zan Wimberley.
Claudia Nicholson (b. 1987, Bogota, Colombia; raised in Australia) is a Sydney-based artist, whose work is multidisciplinary with a focus in painting, video and performance. As an artist and an adopted child Nicholson occupies an ambiguous position between Australian and Latino cultures. Her work questions the construction of identity in the absence of a known ancestry and subsequent experiences of cultural and geographic dislocation. She graduated from College of Fine Arts (COFA), University of New South Wales, Sydney, in 2011 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) and spent a semester in 2008 as an exchange student in Centro Universitario de Arte, University of Guadalajara, Mexico. Nicholson has been selected as a finalist for several awards, including Marrickville Contemporary Art Prize (2008) and Yen Art Award, Gaffa (2014). She has participated in group exhibitions, predominantly in Sydney, including at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Firstdraft, Gaffa, Somewhere Gallery, Kudos Gallery and COFA Gallery. Her first solo exhibition was Silly Homeland at Gaffa, Sydney (2013) and her most recent solo exhibition was presented at Fristdraft, Sydney in April 2014, titled Ni Chicha Ni Limonada. Nicholson has also taken part in the Next Wave Festival, Melbourne (2012) and has undertaken artist residency programs in Sydney and Peru.
James Nguyen, 360 Degree Radial Arc (2014), multi-channel video installation. Image courtesy the artist.
James Nguyen (b.1982, Vietnam) is a Sydney-based artist interested in the critical and applied methods of new art forms to politics and culture. His diverse work ranges from drawing and painting to installation, video and performance. He graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) from National Art School, Sydney, in 2012 and is currently undertaking a Masters of Fine Arts at Sydney College of Arts (SCA), University of Sydney. Since 2012 Nguyen has participated in several group exhibitions including at Articulate Project Space, Sydney; YOLK Collective, Sydney; William Wright’s Artists Projects, Sydney; and Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts. He has also taken part in collaborative projects in Sydney such as Briony Barr Drawing Project at AIAS Conference and COSMOS Collaborative between SCA and Sydney Conservatorium. His first solo exhibition was at Bradfield College, North Sydney, in 2013 titled EXIT Strategy, and his recent solo exhibition, The Man With the Movie Camera, was presented at both SCA Gallery and FELTspace, Adelaide in 2014.
Tully Arnot, You Were Here (2014), 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Installation view, courtesy Zan Wimberley.
Tully Arnot’s practice develops on ‘outsider’ modes of invention, generating a non-teleological creative process with unanticipated outcomes. Inventive and alchemical explorations of material and form are used to explore the subtle changing of states within art from everyday object to sculpture/invention/artwork, or stuck between in a state of flux. Arnot’s work aims to reconnect with objects and understand what their functions (and by extension, our needs) really are. His works poetically interpret the intangible relationships we have with everyday items and illuminate new ways of thinking and interacting with the world around us., More subjectively, Arnot’s work addresses feelings of absence, longing, play, the uncanny, human relationships with objects and technology, the absurd and contradiction. Arnot’s current research explores various real and imagined Artificial Intelligences, addressing the value of our relationships with non-sentient forms. His current body of work looks at the way these relationships feed back into our own capacity to interact meaningfully with one another. His work often integrates complex technologies with everyday or crass components. This merging of high and low thought exemplifies the isolating nature of our increasingly connected, but ultimately disconnected world.
Sarah Contos, 23 Ming Vases for Little Horse (everything that moves, breaks) (2014), 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Installation view, courtesy Zan Wimberley.
Sarah Contos is a multidisciplinary artist working across various modes of collage, sculpture and installation. Her work unpacks notions of primitivism, eroticism and history – whether cultural or personal – utilising formal and referential counterpoints to explore ideas of identity, sensuality and myth. Working with a diverse range of materials – from ceramics, plaster and screenprinted textiles to collected fabrics and discarded objects – Contos forges disjunctions in culture, time and gender to create new mythologies, characters and histories, reflected in fictional objects and forms that float between the familiar and the uncanny. Her work is at once highly personal, intimate and enmeshed in wider taxonomies of art history.
Jensen Tjhung, New God/False God (2014), 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Installation view, courtesy Zan Wimberley.
Jensen Tjhung is a Melbourne-based artist. Graduating from the Victoria College of the Arts (painting) in 2002, Jensen has shown work at Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne; Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart; Margaret Lawrence Gallery, Melbourne, and has undergone residencies at Artspace, Sydney and Beijing Studio Program at 4A Centre Of Contemporary Art. Tjhung’s work is often project-based, large scale installation and sculpture which addresses themes of belief, loss of belief, hysteria and void.
Tully Arnot, Sarah Contos and Jensen Tjhung
22 August – 25 October 2014
Tully Arnot, Alternate Great Wall (2014), digital image. Courtesy the artist.
Haze was the exhibition outcome of a period of artistic collaboration that began when the three artists undertook 4A’s inaugural Beijing Studio Program at the studios of Chinese-Australian artist Shen Shaomin in 2013 in Hairou (怀柔区) on the northern outskirts of Beijing.
During their time in Beijing, Arnot, Contos and Tjhung began to consider their position within an unfamiliar landscape, considering the ways in which objects and materials they encountered could be used as a means to express the complexities of a place like Huairou. From mass-produced concrete buildings and the ubiquitous neon lighting, to camouflage clothing, discarded shopping bags and karaoke nightclubs, the artists all drew from the natural and man-made landscapes surrounding them.
Bababa International, Flue (2012), Shanghai Biennale 2012. Courtesy the artists. Photography: Brook Andrew
Bababa International (Giles Thackway, Stephen Russell and Thomas Melick) were 4A’s first artists in residence at Shen Shaomin studios in the lead up to The Floating Eye, the 9th Shanghai Biennale.
Curated by 4A’s Director, Aaron Seeto alongside the Sydney Pavilion team, Curatorial Project Manager, Sharon Chen and Assistant Curator, Toby Chapman, the exhibition featured exciting new and existing, installation and video works by six contemporary Australian artists, including Bababa International, Brook Andrew, Shaun Gladwell, Raquel Ormella, Khaled Sabsabi, and Shen Shaomin.
The Floating Eye illustrated the layering of histories and diverse social and cultural experiences, which speak to the experience of individuals living in global cities such as Sydney. The exhibition brings together six contemporary artists who each have strong connections with Sydney and offer varied perspectives of the city’s transforming reality observed though its demographics, environment, history, politics, geography and society. The Floating Eye encourages an observation of a city’s shifting references and influences, how the overlay of time and history and our emotions and sensations of a place, give meaning and form to our shared spaces.
DEADLINE: Friday 30 June 2017
TRAVEL DATES: September 2017Following the inaugural offering in 2016, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is pleased to announce the 4A Emerging Writer’s Program that will support an emerging Australian writer to travel to the Pacific in September 2017 to realise two publication outcomes. The 4A Emerging Writer’s Program is open to Australian students currently undertaking a degree at honours or postgraduate level in art, history or related fields of study at an Australian tertiary institution. This program will be rigorous and is specifically designed for tertiary students with a keen interest in fieldwork research in art and culture, and someone who can demonstrate a flair and passion for writing. The selected writer will undertake a one-week research trip to a Pacific nation in September 2017. Facilitated by 4A and its networks, the writer will be asked to conceive and deliver two writing outcomes for publication in 4A Papers and Program supporter Art Monthly Australasia. This may include a critical essay, historical research, interview, review, profile, or feature with accompanying online audio-visual content. The writer will be supported by the team at 4A and in particular by Pedro de Almeida, Editor, 4A Papers and Michael Fitzgerald, Editor, Art Monthly Australasia. The 4A Emerging Writer’s Program has been developed as part of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art’s broader professional development program for early career arts professionals. Together with the annual 4A Beijing Studio Program and the biannual 4A Curators’ Intensive, the 4A Emerging Writer’s Program supports emerging Australian talent to work within the Asia-Pacific region.
KEY DATESApplications open: Monday 3 April 2017 Applications close: Friday 30 June 2017 (5.00pm) Travel dates: September 2017 (exact dates of one-week itinerary to be determined in consultation with 4A).
APPLICATION GUIDELINESThe selected writer must be:
- Over the age of 18 years.
- An Australian citizen or permanent resident who is enrolled in a degree at honours or postgraduate level in art, history or related fields of study at an Australian tertiary institution at the time of application.
- The definition of “emerging” is a writer who has not previously published more than 12 texts in any subject, in print or online (blogs or self-published platforms excluded).
- Return airfare from the recipient’s nearest state capital city to chosen Pacific nation.
- Accommodation, per diems and travel insurance for the period of the trip.
- An honorarium.
- A Cover Page with your name, address, phone number and email address.
- A Letter of Intent addressing your interest in participating in the Program, articulating your specific area of interest in the Pacific and which nation you propose to travel to; how it will be beneficial to you; and how it will contribute to the development of your research and writing practice. Maximum one page.
- A Statement that outlines your current writing or research focuses and interests. Maximum one page.
- A CV illustrating relevant study and work experience, previously published texts, personal projects and achievements. Maximum one page.
- A Writing Sample of up to 1,000 words (this can be unpublished and preferably in a professional writing style rather than academic in tone).
- A Proposed Collection of Writings that you would produce as part of this project. Maximum one page.
Applications should be submitted via email, post or in person to:
Pedro de Almeida
Program Manager / Editor, 4A Papers, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art
In person: 181-187 Hay Street, Haymarket, NSW 2000
Post: PO Box K1312, Haymarket NSW 1240
Applications are now open and close 5.00PM Friday 30 June 2017.
Applications will be assessed by a panel and the selected writer notified within two weeks following the submission deadline.
If you have any questions in relation to the program or how to apply please contact Pedro de Almeida on (02) 9212 0380 or firstname.lastname@example.org The 4A Emerging Writer’s Program is supported by Art Monthly Australasia.
2016 4A Writers Program RecipientOver two weeks spanning late May and early June 2016, Minerva Inwald, 4A’s 2016 Emerging Writers Program participant, traveled to Guangzhou, China, to experience the lead up to Sea Pearl White Cloud 海珠白雲, a collaborative two-stage exhibition project produced by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and local independent contemporary art space, Observation Society, that saw presentations in Guangzhou and Sydney. Sea Pearl White Cloud presented new works by Australian artist Lucas Ihlein and Hong Kong-based artist Trevor Yeung that are informed by questions of temporality, exchange and poetics while reflecting on the urban condition in the twenty-first century. Read her piece for the 4A Papers here.
4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is dedicated to providing career pathways for early career arts facilitators. Our internship program is a key element to ensuring the next generation of Australian arts leaders are experienced working with contemporary art from Asia.
Our internship program is entirely project based and interns will apply for specific positions that accompany an element of 4A’s program. From curatorial assistance, fundraising assistance, marketing assistance or production assistance these positions will be clearly defined and have clear deliverables for 4A and clear learning outcomes for the intern.
Applications are currently closed for 4A’s internship program. Keep an eye on our website and subscribe to the 4A newsletter for future opportunities.