Belinda Lai and Alice Wesley-Smith: To Have and To Hold

Wednesday 24 May, 2006

Fashion and art collide in a one-night only collaboration between designer Belinda Lai and photographer Alice Wesley-Smith, to be held at the Asia Australia Arts Centre (Gallery 4A).

The unique fashion pieces on display are originally sourced from clothing from the 1900s through to the 1970s:

“The concept is to reinstate the gentle tradition of keeping clothing as heirlooms, similar to other forms of jewellery and adornment. Clothes are no longer just ‘rags of the ragtrade,’ but keepsakes that can be treasured from generation to generation.” – Belinda Lai

The photography draws upon the extensive experiences of Wesley-Smith throughout Europe and, in particular, Asia where she constantly draws inspiration. The interaction of these displaced communities within the social context of Australia is of particular interest in her photographic work.

Belinda Lai was the winner of the Mercedes-Benz Startup Young Fashion Designer of 2004.

Alice Wesley-Smith is currently working on a solo exhibition of  her recent experiences in East Timor.

15th Biennale of Sydney: Zones of Contact

8 June – 27 August 2006

Exhibiting artists at Gallery 4A at the Asia-Australia Arts Centre [4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art]: Stella Brennan (NZL), Chen Chieh-jen (TWN) and Kai Syng Tan (SGP)

Expansive in both curatorial ambition and footprint, Zones of Contact expanded beyond its principal, inner-city venues to other sites, including art centres in south-west Sydney suburbs of Blacktown and Campbelltown, in a desire to reach broader audiences. The scale of the undertaking was equalled by Merewether’s inclusive research process, which included visits to many countries in the two years prior to the 2006 Biennale.

Thematically, the exhibition dealt broadly with events, ideas and concerns that shape our lives, as well as our sense of past and future. It explored zones in which people live and move: cities and settlements, the merging and separation of public areas and private territories, and places where people encounter one another. In an attempt to map the world through its artists, Merewether gathered work about landscape and territory, notions of home and homeland, and the impact of cross-cultural encounter.

Sub-themes of colonialism, experiences of war and conflict, displacement, migration and mobility in the exhibition played out against experiences of living in an increasingly cosmopolitan, globalised world.

Stella Brennan (b. 1974, Auckland, New Zealand) is an Auckland-based artist, writer and curator. She has a Masters degree in Fine Arts from Auckland University. In 2003 she was the Waikato University’s inaugural Digital Artist in Residence. She is also the founder of Aotearoa Digital Arts, New Zealand’s only discussion list dedicated to New Media Art.

Chen Chieh-Jen (b. 1960, Taoyuan, Taiwan) is a Taipei-based artist and filmmaker.

Tan Kai Syng (b. 1975, Singapore) is a performance and installation artist. Her video recordings of folk recalling events highlight the difference in histories, suggesting a questioning of historical truth. Challenging hegemonic narrative structures in oral histories, Syng attempts to reconstruct history through collective subjective memory.

Liminal Personae

20 October – 18 November 2006

Artists: Susan Norrie, Laurens Tan, Anita Larkin, John Massingham, Luis Trujillo, Jade Pegler, Joanne Handley, Iain Whittaker, Megan Sproats, Aaron Hull and May Barrie.

Loosely translating as “threshold people”, Liminal Personae is an exhibition of and about artists who challenge the stereotypes about artists living outside the metropolitan centres and who walk the fine threshold of acceptance. Most of the artists featured reside, or have had regular interaction with Wollongong and the Illawarra, and this exhibition aims to gather them all together, without them having to squeeze themselves into a theme or exhibition brief.

This exhibition celebrates the idiosyncrasies of these artists – their particular practices, ideas, concepts, materials, living arrangements, physical or mental circumstances, histories or lack thereof. The artists involved span a range of disciplines and experience: the curators have rejected the usual practice of showing work by only emerging artists, or only those who have been artists for 20 years or more.

This project was kindly supported by a cultural grant from Arts NSW, a Visual Arts and Craft Grant from the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) and through the support of the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

Proudly presented by Project Contemporary Artspace, Wollongong.

Dacchi Dang: Liminal

15 September – 14 October, 2006.

In Liminal, artist Dacchi Dang explores the binaries and dualities of the East and West. His evocative new body of photographic work -emanates from an artist’s residency at the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris, and compares the landscape, society and architecture of France and Vietnam. Liminal explores notions of disparity between Eastern traditions of representation and those of the West, it celebrates the similarities and relationships between the two cultural landscapes, with the added layer of Dacchi’s Australian identity.

This project has been assisted by the Commonwealth Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, L&P photographic Ltd., and Fujifilm Australia Pty. Ltd.

Dacchi Dang was born and raised in Saigon and came to Australia as a teenager in 1983.

Roslisham AKA ISE: Keluar 90 Hari

15 September – 14 October 2006

Keluar 90 Hari is ISE’s response to his ’90 day outing’ to Sydney from Kuala Lumpur, courtesy of the Australian High Commission visual arts residency award at Artspace.

For this show ISE has created mural and collage in response to the street-exposed space and his time in Sydney, away from the restrictions of the familiar working environment back home in Malaysia. ISE’s characters – his robot man, his haloed demon with unsheathed sword – are deeply personal, yet utterly universal at the same time.

This exhibition has been made possible by the generous patronage of Casey Khik, of Chee Soon and Fitzgerald, interior furnishers.


Ghosts of the Coast

27 April – 27 May, 2006.

Artists: Lionel Bawden, Cherine Fahd, Alex Kershaw, Mel O’Callaghan, Todd Robinson, Pat Sae-Loy, Evan Salmon and Prateep Suthathongthai.

Ghosts of the Coast brings together works which use the forms, equipment and spaces of the maritime to explore the uncanny connections and presences found at the coastline. The artists in this show approach the concept of the coast both literally – in terms of the detritus and ghostly traces found at the water’s edge and under the sea – and figuratively, as a limit, a point of facing – off between the known world and the unknown possibilities of the expansive otherness of the ocean. This otherness is ingrained in the psyche of Australasians who gather at the rim of waterbound lands. In this show, the coast serves as a metaphor for the liminal points of form and content, lines crucial to our marking out of Self and Other and of fantasy and reality.

Gao Xingjian

23 November 2006

The Asia Australia Arts Centre is delighted to hold a one-day exhibition on Thursday 23rd November 2006, of seven Chinese ink paintings by 2000 Nobel Laureate Gao Xingjian – including a 300 cm long painting Goût de l’encre – to celebrate the new HarperCollins publication of his book The Case for Literature.

The essays in Gao Xingjian’s The Case for Literature provide insights into the enormous obstacles he has had to overcome as a writer who expresses himself mainly in the Chinese language. His wide knowledge of Chinese and Western literature, his powerful intellect, and his uncompromising attitude towards the pressures of political or religious ideologies, the collective or market forces informs these essays, and argue for literature that is “without isms”, that is “cold literature” or literature that is driven only by literary concerns and is uncontaminated by the need to promote political or any other causes. His observations and insights derive from one whose instinct to self-expression through writing was severely repressed for over twenty years of his adult life. These essays provide a key to understanding his great novels Soul Mountain and One Man’s Bible as autobiographical works that he was driven to write.

Best known internationally as a novelist and playwright, Gao Xingjian’s paintings grace the covers of the HarperCollins editions of his books Soul Mountain (2000), One Man’s Bible (2002), Buying a Fishing Rod for My Grandfather (2004), and The Case for Literature (2006).

Gao Xingjian’s first solo exhibitions were held in 1985, in Beijing, Berlin and Vienna. He has since held more than forty solo exhibitions in France, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Taiwan, Hong Kong, USA, Spain and Belgium. In 2005 a major retrospective exhibition of sixty works was held at the Singapore Art Museum, and in 2007 he will hold a solo exhibition at Notre Dame University in Chicago.

Born 1940 in Ganzhou, Jiangxi Province, China, Gao Xingjian graduated with a major in French literature in 1962. He enjoyed celebrity status in China when his plays Alarm Signal (1982) Bus Stop (1983) were staged in Beijing. This was soon after the end of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) when writers were singled out for harassment and criticism. In 1983 Bus Stop was banned, and he was barred from publishing until the Eradicate Spiritual Pollution petered out at the end of the year. But he continued to be harassed for his writings, and in 1987 he relocated to Paris, where he was able to fully explore his creative potential as a writer and artist. He has stamped his credentials internationally as playwright, novelist, artist and public intellectual.

Space Invaders

23 March- 22 April 2006.

Space Invaders brings together artists and works to examine the relationship between materiality and space, our relation to space and to explore the spatiality of art, art institutions and our interactions with them.

Croatian born Australian artist Biljana Jancic’s untitled work is a display of inflated everyday plastic bags. This work constructs the bags into a free formed sculptural assemblage structured around internal space. The air in the bags and their spread in the gallery investigates our relation to materials and hollow, empty space.

Sydney based artist Alex Davies‘s installation Puglist Series 449 he explores space as we are faced with a boxer moving at alternate speeds, slowly then all at once invading the exhibition space.

The installation Study in Chaos (aperiodic thought-factors) by Sydney based artist Suzan Liu explores the interconnectivity, narrative and interpersonal relationships we form to space. The work of twisting and turning cables allow for her exploration of space to take on a physicality as you follow it around the wall in the gallery space.

Japanese born Sydney based artist Koji Ryui’s installation Construction #2 explores space as the white molecular objects surge, intersect and rise in the space; contorting and controlling its own use of space and expressing the materiality of gallery spaces.

Australian artist Mimi Tong’s work Folding Interface directly challenges the perception of spatiality of art objects and art institutions. The contorted canvases that form a maze within the gallery challenge the way in which we interact with a more traditional medium in an art gallery and question how space is utilised by institutions and artists.

Sam Smith‘s Passage consists of a projected video onto a large scale, hand made aeroplane chair, reflecting on the in-flight viewing experience of long haul flights. Set in a strange post-cinema world, this work explores how we inhabit new media spaces, drawing on film history, the experience of cinema and the technical vocabulary of new media production.