Acute Actions: Responses to I Am Not A Virus, Part 1

4A @ DARLINGHURST

101-111 WILLIAM STREET, DARLINGHURST

SYDNEY, NSW

Open Thursday to Saturdays, 10am – 4pm

Part 1: 15 April – 15 May 2021

Acute Actions: Responses to I Am Not A Virus is an artist-led exhibition series that seeks to unpack the hidden injuries of racism through the lived experience of Asian Australian artists and Asian artists living in Australia. By utilising experimental material and physical practices, the eight artists in Acute Actions part 1 illustrate poetically how the diverse futures for Australia might look. Through performative actions, material assemblage and sharing cultural food, their practices act as both archives of past traumas and sites of collective diasporic consciousness.

Watch the exhibition feature on SBS News below.


Artist Biographies: 

Sophia Cai is a curator and arts writer based in Narrm/Melbourne, Australia. She currently teaches as a sessional lecturer in the department of Critical and Theoretical Studies, Victorian College of Arts at the University of Melbourne, while also maintaining an independent curating and writing practice. Sophia is particularly interested in Asian art history, the intersection between contemporary art and craft, as well as feminist methodologies and community-based practices.

Sai-Wai Foo is a Malaysian-born Chinese, Naarm/Melbourne-based emerging/early-career artist. Her training in fashion design influences and informs her practice through technique, finish and materials. Foo is a bricoleur who collects discarded and redundant items and gives them a new life through her sculptural practice. Working primarily in paper and textiles, Foo’s materiality prompts viewers to consider discarded materials and to reconsider how things are used in our over-curated and insatiable consumer society. Her pieces invite a more intimate engagement, due to their scale and delicacy.

Joe Paradise Lui is a founding member of Renegade Productions. Within its aegis he creates, writes, directs, designs and composes theatre and performance works. His most recent work was Cephalopod, presented at the Blue Room Theatre in 2019. Joe Paradise Lui is the Spirit of the Fringe World. He is also a part of the professional and independent theatre industry in Perth as a director, writer, and a sound and lighting designer. He has worked with most Perth based companies including BSSTC, Perth Theatre Company, Yirra Yaakin theatre company and the vast majority of independent companies.

Originally from Singapore, Deborah Ong is proudly of Hainanese and Peranakan Chinese heritage. She came to Australia in 2004 to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, fell in love with the city of Melbourne, and officially made it her home in 2013. She’s spent the past 10 years working as a qualified chef, and more recently has also been involved in teaching in local community centres, and pursuing postgraduate studies in Nutrition and Public Health. Deborah is passionate about food and its role in cultural identity. She finds joy in tearing down the walls of difference and bringing people together around the table with dinner and stories.

Using photography to capture her personal and cultural everyday experiences, Andrea Srisurapon explores concepts surrounding cross-culture, identity and Australia’s social and cultural landscape. Reflecting on her cultural experiences of East and West and celebrating her family’s heritage, Srisurapon challenges the stereotypes of racism, bigotry and cultural misconception and attempts to discover what is means to be a Thai Australian. Andrea graduated from Sydney College of the Arts and now works and resides in the city of Sydney.

Jayanto Tan is a visual artist who was born and raised in a small village in North Sumatra to a Sumatran Christian mother and Guandong Taoist father. As an immigrant artist living in Sydney, who fled poverty and political repression in search of a better life, his practice blends Eastern and Western mythologies with the reality of current events. His works have been selected for the 66th Blake Prize and a solo show at the Verge Gallery. He won the 11th Greenway Art Prize in a small sculpture category. Jayanto holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Masters of Fine Arts from National Art School.

Amy Zhang is a movement artist that specialises in performance and movement direction. Using dance as her storytelling vehicle, she combines her unique eye for aesthetics to bring a new life to movement in all forms of media and live performance. Amy has most recently shared her work in this year’s Vitalstatistix Adhocracy and Brisbane Festival.

MaggZ is a Melbourne-based movement and multidisciplinary artist, specialised in waacking – a dance style originated in 1970s LA from the LGBTQ community, predominantly involving arm movements. Traversing amongst dance battles, live performances, installations and interdisciplinary collaborations with other artists, MaggZ aspires to explore the possibilities of art and creativity whilst to honour the unique being of self and others.


Exhibition Documentation

A woman with long black hair in a white blouse and yellow full-length skirt stands on a street outside a gallery glass front, looking at a yellow knitted sweater with sleeves knitted to be 1.5 metres long. The decal sign on the glass front reads 'Acute Actions: Responses to I Am Not A Virus. 15 April - 15 May'

Acute Actions: Responses To I Am Not A Virus (installation view)2021, 4A @ 101-111 William Street, Sydney. Right: Andrea Srisurapon, Covid Clean, 2021, photographic print. Left: Sophia Cai, Safety Yellow Woman, 2020-2021, handknitted wool garment – adult size, yarn support provided by Fancy Tiger Crafts. Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artists.

A yellow knitted sweater with sleeves knitted to be 1.5 metres long, hanging in front of a glass wall. The end of the sleeves are knitted with layered patterns of stripes, arrows and checkered boxes. The collar and hem are knitted with short vertical black stripes.

Acute Actions: Responses To I Am Not A Virus (installation view)2021,4A @ 101-111 William Street, Sydney. Sophia Cai, Safety Yellow Woman, 2020-2021, handknitted wool garment – adult size, yarn support provided by Fancy Tiger Crafts. Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artist.

A male-presenting figure and a female-presenting figure sit back to back on white stools in a gallery space against a white curtain wall. The male figure is dressed in a black hoodie, black shorts and black socks and sneakers, with headphones over his ears as he watches a video work on a wall-mounted television screen. The female figure, dressed in a white blouse and a long cadmium yellow skirt, also has headphones over her ears and is watching a video work on a wall-mounted television screen.

Acute Actions: Responses To I Am Not a Virus (installation view)2021, 4A @ 101-111 William Street, Sydney. Right: Joe Paradise Lui & Deborah Ong, Laksa, video, 21:02, 2021. Left: Amy Zhang & MaggZ,  (qi), video, 3:34, 2021. Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artists.

A colourful spread of earthenware sculptures imitating a spread of fruit, savoury snacks and East or Southeast Asian-inspired desserts. The spread features multicoloured fortune cookies, glutinous rice cakes, cakes rolled in shredded coconut and green, pink and red sticky rice cakes cut in the shapes of diamonds. They are all arranged on white ceramic bowls and plates, which are set near a pair of ceramic white thongs and white sandals painted with a fictional green logogram.

Acute Actions: Responses To I Am Not A Virus (detail)2021, 4A @ 101-111 William Street, Sydney. Jayanto Tan, No Friends But The Ghosts (Ceng Beng), 2020 – ongoing, ceramics, embroidery on found fabrics. Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artist..

Close-up of 12 textile dumplings arranged in rows on a white plinth. The dumplings are embroidered with Asian-focused racial slurs such as Yellow Peril, Fresh off the Boat, Chink and Ching Chong

Acute Actions: Responses To I Am Not A Virus(detail)2021, 4A @ 101-111 William Street, Sydney. Right: Sai-Wai Foo, Eat Your Words, 2020, textile installation, 12 individual textile dumplings, hand embroidered racial slur. Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artist..

View from outside a gallery glass front of four photographic prints in white frames. The first shows a figure in a white hazmat suit and goggles standing against a blank white wall. Their palms are pressed together in prayer-like fashion front of their body, as a traditional Thai greeting. The second and third photograph show bright yellow paint being poured over the figure's head and splashing the wall behind them. The last photograph shows a female-presenting figure with the hazmat suit, now splashed with yellow paint, pulled down past her bare shoulders. Her palms are still pressed together as she looks at the camera.

Acute Actions: Responses To I Am Not a Virus (installation view)2021,4A @ 101-111 William Street, Sydney. Right: Andrea Srisurapon, Covid Clean, 2021, photographic print. Left: Jayanto Tan, No Friends But The Ghosts (Ceng Beng), 2020 – ongoing, ceramics, embroidery on found fabrics. Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artists.

This exhibition is presented by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and Diversity Arts Australia, as part of the I Am Not A Virus project. Supported by Australia Council, Create NSW, Creative Victoria, City of Sydney, City of Parramatta and Inner West Council.

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Acute Actions: Responses to I Am Not A Virus, Part 2

4A @ DARLINGHURST

101-111 WILLIAM STREET, DARLINGHURST

SYDNEY, NSW

Open Thursday to Saturdays, 10am – 4pm

Part 2: 3 June – 3 July 2021

 

Building upon the previous Acute Actions: Responses to I Am Not A Virus exhibition, the works of Jin Hien Lau, Nathan Liow, Zachary Lopez and Sweet and Sour Collective delve into distinct experiences informed by disconnection and isolation. Working across a variety of practices and artistic methods, this exhibition further demonstrates the wide impact of racism and displacement on the POC population. The presented works poetically illustrate possible outlooks featuring cultural diversity in Australia’s future experience.


Artist Biographies: 

A proponent of the values of narrative across all forms of media and practices, Jin Hien Lau believes that in order to tell a good story, you must listen to a thousand better ones from everyone and everywhere first. Based in Sydney but a frequent collaborator on projects across Asia, Jin has applied his craft to fields ranging from prints, comics, illustrations and animation.

Melbourne pianist and composer, Nathan Liow, recently exhibited his collaborative work, “Music For Eyes” at Incinerator Gallery, which was also featured in the “New Movement Exhibition” at Cost Annex, Boston MA. His digital work, “Artifacts”, exhibited at West Space Gallery for Next Wave Festival. Liow’s compositions have appeared on a diverse range of mediums including for MIFF Official Selection film “Creswick” by filmmaker Natalie James, and other film and music festivals globally. He has performed alongside multiple ARIA recipient Andrea Keller at Melbourne’s Jazzlab, and during lockdown, he was commissioned by City Of Melbourne to broadcast a series of concerts from Tempo Rubato in Brunswick.

Zachary Lopez is a performer and choreographer. He explores the duality between his identities to understand cultural lineage and nationality within his practice. He has been commissioned for the Keir Choreographic Awards 2020 and by Sydney Dance Company, premiering works in Carriageworks (NSW) and Dancehouse (VIC). Zachary has been awarded a Young Creative Leaders Fellowship (Create NSW), an Australia Council Artstart Grant and creative development grants. He is currently working with Marrugeku and Legs on the wall and has worked with Punchdrunk’s co-artistic director Maxine Doyle (UK), Sydney Dance Company as an associate artist, Co3 (WA), The Farm (QLD), Opera Australia and with artists Amrita Hepi, Cass Mortimer-Eipper and Charmene Yap among others.

Sweet and Sour is a collective focusing on providing a voice for Asian-Australians. Being Asian today in Australia is not easy. When more than one culture demands your allegiance, there is a bizarre sense of existing between multiple worlds, yet not fully belonging to either. We are international students, mixed-race individuals and second-generation immigrants; many of us belong to multiple cultural identities, and face issues relating to belonging, racism and identity. Sweet and Sour was conceived with the notion of creating a space for individuals and communities with Asian heritage in Australia to share our thoughts, experiences and creativity. Members in Sweet and Sour: Chetan Kharbanda, Eleanor Hsu, James Yang, Joanne Leong, Malcolm Fortaleza, Chin-Jie Melodie Liu, Sydney Farey, Viv Wang and Yvonne Yong.


Exhibition Documentation

4A's gallery window with a paper fan, traditional Chinese silk garments, a doll and other textiles hanging from the ceiling.
Acute Actions: Responses To I Am Not A Virus (installation view), 2021, 4A @ 101-111 William Street, Sydney. Zachary Lopez, Roil Horizon, 2021, bamboo, nylon, single channel HD video, various materials and objects. Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artist.
4A's white gallery space, with five comic sheets installed on the left wall, a small television screen with headphones attached, and an installation hanging by the window, comprised of a parasol, paper fan, conical hat, a fabric doll and traditional Chinese silk garments.
Acute Actions: Responses To I Am Not A Virus (installation view), 2021, 4A @ 101-111 William Street, Sydney. Left: Jin Hien Lau, Train of Thought, 2021, digital illustration, inkjet print. Right: Zachary Lopez, Roil Horizon, 2021, bamboo, nylon, single channel HD video, various materials and objects.Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artists.

A series of objects hanging by a glass window, including a bright red Tang suit shirt, two pink cheongsam shirts, paper illustrations decorated with red Chinese knots, and a paper fan.

Zachary Lopez, Roil Horizon, 2021, bamboo, nylon, single channel HD video, various materials and objects. Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artist.
A five piece comic attached to a white gallery wall. The comic depicts cartoon figures against a baby blue background.
Jin Hien Lau, Train of Thought, 2021, digital illustration, inkjet print. Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artist.

Close up of a comic, which shows a red cartoon figure attacking a seated blue figure. Behind the two figures is a yellow circle against a light blue background. The panel reads: 'Not one of Australia's news outlets was able to identify them as Singaporean and Malaysian which I found out via a Singaporean newspaper. Channel 7 and The Age assumed that they were from China. Basically making the same mistake as the assailants.' The next panel shows a faceless figure in a black cap and black hoodie against a bright red background.

Jin Hien Lau, Train of Thought (detail), 2021, digital illustration, inkjet print. Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artist.

A Filipina woman in a bright pink jumpsuit sitting cross-legged on white stool in a gallery space with a white curtain. She has headphones on and is watching two television screens in front of her. Behind her is a white wall with four hanging lines with postcards pegged on them.

Acute Actions: Responses To I Am Not A Virus (installation view), 2021, 4A @ 101-111 William Street, Sydney. Left: Sweet and Sour Group, Sweet and Sour Postcard Collaborative, 2020-21, mixed media installation. Right: Nathan Liow, Air(borne), 2021, two channel HD video, 2min 37sec. Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artists.

Two television screens next to each other on a gallery wall, showing an Asian male-presenting figure in a white button-up shirt playing on a portable keyboard. They have their black hair tied up in a bun.

Nathan Liow, Air(borne), 2021, two channel HD video, 2min 37sec. Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artist.

A white gallery wall with a white desk and a white plastic chair. On the wall are four hanging lines with postcards and letters pegged across them. On the table are stationery boxes holding coloured pens and postcards.

Sweet and Sour Group, Sweet and Sour Postcard Collaborative, 2020-21, mixed media installation. Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artists.

A Filipina woman in a long-sleeved yellow shirt with her hair tied back in a colourful scarf, clipping a postcard onto a clothes line in a gallery.

Sweet and Sour Group, Sweet and Sour Postcard Collaborative, 2020-21, mixed media installation. Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artist.

This exhibition is presented by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and Diversity Arts Australia, as part of the I Am Not A Virus project. Supported by Australia Council, Create NSW, Creative Victoria, City of Sydney, City of Parramatta and Inner West Council.

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Acute Actions: Responses To I Am Not A Virus

4A @ DARLINGHURST

101-111 WILLIAM STREET, DARLINGHURST, SYDNEY, NSW
15 April – 3 July 2021

Open Thursday to Saturdays, 10am – 4pm

Acute Actions: Responses To I Am Not A Virus is a two-part exhibition that presents the work of twelve artists commissioned through Diversity Arts Australia’s I Am Not A Virus initiative. This selection represents a range of artistic practices and conceptual reflections; these include acts of processing and healing from the trauma of racial prejudice experienced by Asian people. Through ceramics, photography, performance, music, craft, and storytelling, these artists have wrestled with racial prejudice and reframed multiculturalism to reflect this new lived experience.

Acute Actions: Responses To I Am Not A Virus Part 1:  15 April – 15 May 2021 

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Acute Actions: Responses To I Am Not A Virus  Part 2: 3 June – 3 July 2021
View the exhibition page

Watch the Off the Page panel: Jin Hien Lau, Meg O’Shea and W. Chew “Chewie” Chan.

Sweet and Sour Group - 1

 


This exhibition series is presented by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and Diversity Arts Australia, as part of the I Am Not A Virus project. Supported by Australia Council, Create NSW, Creative Victoria, City of Sydney, City of Parramatta and Inner West Council.

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Secret Snacks

4A @ HAYMARKET
8 FEBRUARY – 12 MARCH 2021

Media Release

Eat your way through Haymarket with Secret Snacks, a self-guided street and online campaign presented by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, in partnership with More of Something Good.
Launching on 8 February as part of the City of Sydney’s Lunar New Year Festival, Secret Snacks is a creative ode to Haymarket, a much loved precinct for locals and tourists alike—famous for its vibrant energy and copious mix of Asian restaurants and food joints.
For over 20 years, 4A has called Haymarket home, so our team has seen first-hand how the recent pandemic has affected local artists as well as the food community. As we safely edge out of lockdown, 4A invites the public to venture into Haymarket to discover hidden gems or revisit mainstay meals, all in one locale.

For Secret Snacks, 4A has invited top Asian-Australian creatives Benjamin Law, Kylie Kwong, Luisa Brimble, and James Jirat Patradoon to hand-pick their favourite dishes and what makes them special. We’ve commissioned the designers behind More of Something Good to translate these food profiles into mouth-watering artworks distributed online and via street posters and decals in participating restaurants and public sites in Sydney.

From comfort slurps to big cravings, Secret Snacks helps connect food makers, artists and the public through tales that inspire memories, curiosity, and togetherness.

Keep an eye out for Secret Snacks posters and decals across Sydney streetscapes and public sites from 8 February-12 March 2021.

Visit the project online and follow 4A on Instagram (@4A_aus) for updates.

Secret Snacks is commissioned by 4A and co-presented with More of Something Good, featuring tried-and-tested dishes from Boon Cafe, Chat Thai, Gumshara, and Nakano Darling. Produced by Mariam Arcilla.

The project is part of the City of Sydney’s Sydney Lunar Festival, and is supported by the City of Sydney.


About the contributors:

Benjamin Law is an author, TV screenwriter, playwright, columnist, journalist and ABC broadcaster.

Kylie Kwong is a chef, cookbook author and ambassador for food, culture and community at South Eveleigh.

Luisa Brimble is a James Beard nominated food photographer and a passionate advocate for the creative community.

James Jirat Patradoon is a visual artist whose mural, painting and animated gif works depict his vision of neon gothic paradise.


About the artists:

More of Something Good is an online illustrated food directory by Studio Mimu.


Secret Snacks documentation

All images: Kai Wasikowski

A girl with a ponytail and a white singlet, shorts and sneakers looks up a wall at two red posters vertically printed with shiny gold letters that read 'SECRET SNACKS'. The posters are also printed with small colourful boxes of text and smiling cartoon faces of four Asian-Australians.

Secret Snacks artwork posters, 2021; commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art; designed by More of Something Good; Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A; courtesy the artist. 

A red square decal of a Chinese-Australian woman with glasses is stuck on a restaurant door. Blurred figures pass in and out of the restaurant entrance while a chef in a black t-shirt and face mask works behind the kitchen window.

Secret Snacks artwork decals, 2021; commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art; designed by More of Something Good; Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A; courtesy the artist. 

A red square decal of a Chinese-Australian man's face is stuck on a glass door outside a cafe and grocery store, as a blurred figure walks out.

Secret Snacks artwork decals, 2021; commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art; designed by More of Something Good; Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A; courtesy the artist. 
A man in a white singlet takes a bowl of ramen from a Japanese restaurant counter decorated with lanterns and a white noren curtain painted with kanji characters. A red square decal of a Thai-Australian man is stuck next to the window over a fridge with soft drinks. A whiteboard hanging near the window reads 'NO MSG'.
Secret Snacks artwork decals, 2021; commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art; designed by More of Something Good; Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A; courtesy the artist. 

Two red posters printed with the words 'SECRET SNACKS' are stuck on a wall. A woman in a printed floral blouse carrying a white tote bag looks at the poster as she walks by.

Secret Snacks artwork posters, 2021; commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art; designed by More of Something Good; Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A; courtesy the artist.

Truc Truong: hai con lân việt kiều (Two overseas Vietnamese unicorns)

4A @ WILLIAM STREET

101-111 WILLIAM STREET, DARLINGHURST

SYDNEY, NSW

4 FEBRUARY – 6 MARCH 2021

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art presents hai con lân việt kiều (Two overseas Vietnamese unicorns), the first solo exhibition of emerging Vietnamese-Australian artist Truc Truong.

hai con lân việt kiều showcases a bespoke refashioning of traditional lion dance ensembles. By reinventing the costume, Truong delves into the tradition of lion dancing and how the cultural ritual has come to reflect the diasporic nature of multicultural Australian identities.

The costumes use panels of Truong’s own clothing, draping out from beneath traditional Vietnamese lion heads. By utilising material assemblage and fabric bleaching to alter the lion dance costume, Truong articulates the nuances and challenges of assimilation, its impacts on her own familial history and the ‘alterations’ faced by Asian-Australian migrants in an era post-colonisation. Typically, lion dancing symbolises the removal of unwanted spirits. Here, Truong depicts how the fighting lions can transform and become microcosms of Asian-Australian generational wisdom.

Accompanying the exhibition is a documentation video of the newly-commissioned contemporary lion dance performance, the love ethic, which was held and documented at Haymarket’s Chinese Garden of Friendship to herald the Lunar New Year. Breaking with tradition, the performance featured a bespoke refashioning of the traditional lion dance costumes hand-made by Truong, which were embodied and activated by Trung Han Qun Martial Arts and Lion Dancing Academy. The performance, which featured the lions awakening, dancing and revealing themselves as they flit between the Garden’s unique architecture, is intended as a celebratory act to rid the world of the misfortune of 2020 and welcome a year of prosperity and happiness. the love ethic marks the first iteration of hai con lân việt kiều in Sydney.

For many, hai con lân việt kiều enacts an unexpected encounter, helping to reignite the Sydney CBD’s vibrancy over the summer festival period. In the past, traditional lion dances have been a common occurrence during Lunar New Year throughout Haymarket. hai con lân việt kiều represents an artistic response to the Lunar New Year tradition and the unprecedented changes that have impacted this annual ritual. The project ensures contemporary performance art reaches new audiences in an accessible and captivating way, heralding a new year and celebrating the dynamism of the local, vibrant Haymarket community.

View the Truc Truong: hai con lân việt kiều (Two overseas Vietnamese unicorns) roomsheet here


Truc Truong (b. 1987, lives and works in Adelaide, Australia) is an artist living and working on Kaurna land (South Australia, Adelaide), exploring variances between Eastern and Western thinking. Working with sculpture and installation, her work points to colonialism, exploring aspects of racism, hybridity and displacement, often through experiences and stories retold by her family. Truong explores the innovative use of materials, processes, and thematic content that examine issues of identity and Whiteness, and the forces of assimilation and cultural adaptation, especially as they impact on the Vietnamese community in Australia.

This project has been supported by Create NSW’s Play the City grant program.

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Exhibition documentation

A Filipina woman in a flowy black dress looks into a gallery with a yellow Chinese lion costume. The lion looks out the window at her.

Truc Truong, hai con lân việt kiều (Two overseas Vietnamese unicorns) (installation view), 2019, traditional lion heads, bleached clothing, aluminium steel frame, paper mache frame, acrylic paint, 4A @ 101-111 William Street, January 2021; photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artist.

Two Chinese lion dance costumes stand in an art gallery, one black and the other yellow. Their bodies are constructed from old scraps of bleached fabric. A Filipina woman in a long black dress looks through the gallery glassfront at them.

Truc Truong, hai con lân việt kiều (Two overseas Vietnamese unicorns) (installation view), 2019, traditional lion heads, bleached clothing, aluminium steel frame, paper mache frame, acrylic paint, 4A @ 101-111 William Street, January 2021; photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artist.

Two lion dance costumes stand under three navy hanging banners; the left banner is bleached with Chinese characters, the middle with English and the right with Vietnamese. The banner in the centre reads, 'Thanks for the bread but we good.' A black lion costume stands in the centre with scraps of dark fabric streaming down its body.

Front: Truc Truong, hai con lân việt kiều (Two overseas Vietnamese unicorns) (installation view), 2019, traditional lion heads, bleached clothing, aluminium steel frame, paper mache frame, acrylic paint, 4A @ 101-111 William Street, January 2021; photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artist.
Wall: Truc Truong, bench the french (installation view), 2019, cotton drill, bleach, stockings, Installation view, 4A @ 101-111 William Street, January 2021; photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artist.

A close-up of a hanging banner bleached with the words, 'Thanks for the bread but we good.'

Truc Truong, bench the french (detail), 2019, cotton drill, bleach, stockings, 4A @ 101-111 William Street, January 2021; photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artist.

A close-up of a yellow lion dance costume head, decorated with dyed white pompoms, red, black and yellow fluffy trimmings, and painted black accents.

Truc Truong, hai con lân việt kiều (Two overseas Vietnamese unicorns) (detail), 2019, traditional lion heads, bleached clothing, aluminium steel frame, paper mache frame, acrylic paint, 4A @ 101-111 William Street, January 2021; photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artist.

A yellow lion dance costume looks out a gallery glass window. Its head is decorated with fluffy red trimmings, and its eyebrows and lips are covered in fluffy yellow trimmings. Its body is made from long tie-dyed and bleached scraps of fabric.

Front: Truc Truong, hai con lân việt kiều (Two overseas Vietnamese unicorns) (installation view), 2019, traditional lion heads, bleached clothing, aluminium steel frame, paper mache frame, acrylic paint, 4A @ 101-111 William Street, January 2021; photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artist.
Wall: Truc Truong, bench the french (installation view), 2019, cotton drill, bleach, stockings, 4A @ 101-111 William Street, January 2021; photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artist.

A black lion dance costume stands in a gallery space, its head covered in fluffy black trimmings. Its body is covered in long scraps of dark and checkered fabrics.

Truc Truong, hai con lân việt kiều (Two overseas Vietnamese unicorns) (installation view), 2019, traditional lion heads, bleached clothing, aluminium steel frame, paper mache frame, acrylic paint, 4A @ 101-111 William Street, January 2021; photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artist.

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.

Listen to a recorded artist talk with James Jirat Patradoon in conversation with Con Gerakaris here:


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.


Exhibition documentation

Pedestrians walk past a glass-fronted gallery with a neon mural of a woman's face with neon pink eyelids, green pupils and blue lips. A tall set of neon pink doors enclose the front of the gallery, painted with an ox skull surrounded by yellow flames and pink Chinese characters. Above the door is a cracked yin yang symbol surrounded by yellow flame with neon pink and blue rays shining from the yin yang.

James Jirat Patradoon, ULTRA (exterior view), 2021, mural, commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, 4A @World Square, January 2021; photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artist.

A chrome motorbike is parked on a black and white yin yang symbol painted on a black floor. Surrounding the motorbike is a series of neon pink murals with blue flames, yellow spirals and a series of otherworldly characters painted on, including a blue dragon's spine that weaves around a multi-eyed purple beast and a feminine figure with ox horns. Her muscular body shines pink and purple as she extends her arms on both sides, holding two opened paper fans.

Floor: James Jirat Patradoon, ULTRA (installation view), 2021, Hyosung Aquila GV700, ox skull, chrome paint, chains, commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, 4A @World Square, January 2021; photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artist.
Wall: James Jirat Patradoon, ULTRA (installation view), 2021, mural, commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, 4A @World Square, January 2021; photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artist.

A chrome motorbike is parked on a black and white yin yang symbol painted on a black floor, in a gallery space that is lit slightly purple. Surrounding the motorbike is a series of neon pink murals with blue flames, yellow spirals and a series of otherworldly characters painted on.

Floor: James Jirat Patradoon, ULTRA (installation view), 2021, Hyosung Aquila GV700, ox skull, chrome paint, chains, commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, 4A @World Square, January 2021; photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artist.
Wall: James Jirat Patradoon, ULTRA (installation view), 2021, mural, commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, 4A @World Square, January 2021; photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artist.
A chrome motorbike is parked in front of a mural of a feminised figure holding her arms out with an opened paper fan in each hand. Two large purple and pink ox horns protrude from her head, while she looks straight ahead with blue ringed eyes and green pupils. Behind her weaves a blue dragon's spine and a series of neon pink and yellow spirals.
Floor: James Jirat Patradoon, ULTRA (installation view), 2021, Hyosung Aquila GV700, ox skull, chrome paint, chains, commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, 4A @World Square, January 2021; photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artist.
Wall: James Jirat Patradoon, ULTRA (installation view), 2021, mural, commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, 4A @World Square, January 2020; photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artist.

A chrome motorbike is parked in front of a mural with two neon pink, yellow and purple hands crossed over each other. Each hand is the height of the wall and adorned with long pointed fingernails. The hands overlap with a green skeletal Grim Reaper figure in a purple cloak, long blue hair and green skeletal hands holding a purple scythe.

Floor: James Jirat Patradoon, ULTRA (installation view), 2021, Hyosung Aquila GV700, ox skull, chrome paint, chains, commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, 4A @World Square, January 2021; photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artist.
Wall: James Jirat Patradoon, ULTRA (installation view), 2021, mural, commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, 4A @World Square, January 2021; photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artist.

A mural of a green skeletal Grim Reaper figure in a wearing a purple cloak and a purple futou hat holding a scythe. A blue dragon spine curls behind him. The side of the mural is painted neon pink with blue flames rising up.

James Jirat Patradoon, ULTRA (installation view), 2021, mural, commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, 4A @World Square, January 2021; photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artist.

Behind a glass gallery front is a neon pink mural of a woman with purple lilies in her hair, neon pink shadows on the contours of her face, green pupils and blue lips. She has a gold septum ring in her nose. Her hands are raised by her face.

James Jirat Patradoon, ULTRA (installation view), 2021, mural, commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, 4A @World Square, January 2021; photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artist.

A close-up of a grey chromed ox skull on the front of a motorbike.

James Jirat Patradoon, ULTRA (detail), 2021, Hyosung Aquila GV700, ox skull, chrome paint, chains, commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, 4A @World Square, January 2021; photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artist.

A Thai-Australian artist in a black top and black pants and boots stands next to a chrome motorbike against a long neon pink and yellow mural.

James Jirat Patradoon, ULTRA, 4A @World Square, January 2021; photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, courtesy the artist.