A glimpse of Chi­nese cul­ture

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

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

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