A glimpse of Chinese culture
An exhibition showcasing Beijing-based artist Chen Wei’s insight into Chinese club culture will open in Horsham on Saturday.
Horsham Regional Art Gallery director Adam Harding said Chen actively blurred the boundaries between reality and fiction by constructing carefully staged scenes and handcrafted objects.
“Chen has meticulously recreated the architecture, interiors and culture of nightclubs to celebrate this previously undocumented subculture and to provide a commentary on wider social changes that have been taking place in China,” he said.
China’s club scene emerged in the early 1990s as a critical space for collective gathering and an environment for individuals to freely express themselves within the communist country.
Chen said the alternative nature of nightclubs had diminished in subsequent decades as China relaxed its economic policies.
“While they were once the realm of intellectuals and artists as a place to exchange ideas, nightclubs are no longer radical spaces,” he said.
“For me, these enchanted bodies immersed in the smoke and laser beams reflect the current mood in society today – be it cultural, economic or political. No one knows where we are, and which direction we will be heading in tomorrow.”
Building on Chen’s wider interests in the cultural significance of nightlife and storytelling, his The Club exhibition is ultimately concerned with the individual’s place in a rapidly modernising country.
Mr Harding said the visiting Melbourne’s Centre for Contemporary Photography exhibition was a great opportunity for Wimmera people to engage with the work of a noted international artist.
“Horsham Regional Art Gallery is proud to continue our partnership with the Centre of Contemporary Photography and present their Australia-first exhibition to our community,” he said.
“The people of Horsham and the Wimmera will be the only rural community work in Australia.
“Photography is universal, music is universal and dancing like no one is looking is a universal joy. We all get to become someone else on the night club floor.”
Exhibition curator, author and editor Elias Redstone, who hails from the United Kingdom, will accompany the exhibition to the Wimmera.
“We are proud to bring Elias to Horsham and to introduce him to Australian photography in our collection,” Mr Harding said.
“Elias’s visit is a fantastic opportunity to have a personal tour of the exhibition from this international practising curator.” to see this
UNVEILING: Horsham Regional Art Gallery director Adam Harding and gallery curator Alison Eggleton unwrap artwork for Chen Wei’s Chinese club culture exhibition, opening at the gallery on Saturday. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER