Renmin University of China, 11- 12 September 2014
This conference was designed to stimulate discussion around artistic practices and exchanges, the role and function of the cultural industries and changing perceptions of identity, place and belonging in and between Australia and China.
There were several standout talks. The opening keynote by Mr. Edmund Capon, Former Director of the Art Gallery of NSW, titled ‘The Liberation of Australian Art… from the shackles of identity’. Mr. Capon discussed how successful contemporary artists were working with urban culture and global aspirations to create work with a universal expression, as opposed to earlier Australian artists who were creating work tied to Australian identity and place. This idea resonated with me, as although I live in a regional town by the sea, my work explores urban life in global cities.
The stories of Chinese artists who were forced to shift to Australia were very moving, especially the challenges they faced in settling in Australia, and the effect the emigration had on their art practices.
Red Gate Gallery hosted a fascinating panel discussion titled ‘At home in the world: artist residencies and Transnational Practices’. It was encouraging to hear how this area is being developed.
The conference ended with the opening of Australian Artist Laurens Tan’s show at the University of Chicago titled: ‘Empire Bookends: Basketcase’. The exhibition included Installation/sculpture, video and digital photo medias. I particularly liked Laurens three wheel bicycle sculptures. Called a Sanlunche, these bikes can be seen on almost any street in China. For him, the Sanlunche is a symbol of the ingenious solutions to the congested life of Chinese streets, disappearing as quickly as those streets themselves. For me, his exhibition was another reminder of the “layers of time” running through Beijing.
Australian Artist Laurens Tan talking about his show ‘Empire Bookends: Basketcase’ at the University of Chicago.
Panel discussion about the value of artist residencies at
Red Gate Gallery