CaI-Guo Qiang: The Transient Landscape
National Gallery of Victoria
The National Gallery of Victoria is yet to disappoint when it comes to expertly curated exhibitions, some of which present juxtapositions specifically orchestrated to be presented nowhere else within its halls.
This Australian Winter sees a Chinese extravaganza incarnate with the ancient terracotta warriors from Shaanxi Province making an appearance vis-à-vis four of the large-scale installations of one of Asia’s most promising artistes, i.e. Cai Guo-Qiang.
The accompanying catalogue is one beautiful exercise in not only depicting but setting the often meditative yet spectacular and never not thought-provoking installations in scene and adding grandeur to them leveraging tension and exploring the relationship of one’s relationship with terra firma, humanity at large and beauty that can be found in destruction.
The catalogue sheds light on dualism – black and white, heaven and earth, immortality and immortality, the seen versus unseen as well as the ever intriguing perpetuum mobile derived from the myth of phoenix rising from its ashes.
In essence, Qiang’s often monochrome art is an ode to spirituality at large that is relatable and accessible for both the initiated as well as the agnostic and what I find quite interesting is that equal measures of Dadaism, performance artistry as well the notion of the social sculpture can be found at is very core.
Needless to say that China’s ancient cultural and political heritage has a more than subtle omnipresent influence on Qiang’s art as it is often ground and inspired by contemporary societal problems, which creates a tension that he channels in a masterful symbiosis of tradition and contemporariness, the illustration of which is a great additional to any bookshelf.
The exhibition will run until 13 October 2019.
photo from gallery website