16 February – 10 March, 2007
Artists; Sophie Blackall, Joy Lai, Aris Prabwawa, Jason Wing, Meng-Shu You, Xu Bing and The Tissue Culture and Arts Project: Oron Catts & Ionat Zurr.
This Year of the Pig at Gallery 4A, artists explore the wide ranging nature of our snout nosed, bristly haired friend. They take up various mythological and cultural associations with the favourable, the detestable, the fantastical and the downright absurd, to challenge our thinking on themes of astrology, cultural imperialism, genetic modification and the sometimes awkward but potentially fruitful communication between East and West.
Through history the pig is much maligned as well as associated with ‘the forbidden’ in Jewish and Islamic cultural traditions. However, in the Chinese imagination, the pig embodies the honourable qualities of diligence, honesty, patience and fertility. For many Chinese it also means eating well.
Sophie Blackall is an Australian born artist whose work Ancestors comprises a set of “Cabinet Cards” that invite an intimate viewing of their sitters, the work draws upon the close physical and intellectual relationship between humans and pigs to gently explore the Victorian obsession with civilisation and the darkly animalistic dimensions of family relationships.
Joy Lai is a multi media Sydney based artist. Her series Cho Sun is concerned with the tenderness, nostalgia and intimacy of a mother’s relationship with her babe. Dewy soft surfaces and luminous colour create hypnotic folds and textures resembling a young piglet’s skin.
Jason Wing is a Sydney based artist with Chinese-Aboriginal heritage. Wing’s murals at Gallery 4A, his stencil work in Fire Pig and paper collage, Anything is Possible are born of the oppositional dynamics inherent in the artist’s upbringing. Wing uses the pig as a symbol of an ultimate model of honour, selflessness and sincerity; as well as self-indulgence and obsession, dominance and emotional highs and lows.
You Meng-Shu is a Sydney based Taiwan-born artist, You is a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney’s College of the Arts working with ceramics and mixed media in installations of porcelain, concrete and wood. Her cast concrete soccer boots in Chinese New Year Sale suggest the grave weight of pig-like corporate gluttony on the weary shoulders of workers.
Chinese born artist, Xu Bing examines cross-cultural communication in his work A Case Study of Transference. Xu personifies his mating pigs with nonsensical words in both Chinese and English, citing the awkwardness of cross-cultural communication.