Sunday, 11 June 2017

The Dark Matters, White Rabbit Gallery

The White Rabbit Gallery in Chippendale is fast becoming one of my favourite haunts.
Not only is there a fascinating, regularly changing exhibition of contemporary Asian art on display, but there is also a gorgeous teahouse and dumpling bar underneath it.

The most recent exhibition is titled The Dark Matters. It runs until the 30th July.

The ancient Chinese got their ink from smoky oil lamps, brushing away deposited soot and mixing it into a paste that hardened into “stones”. This black was pure, indelible and did not fade, and they fell in love with it. By adjusting the ink’s dilution and the density of their brushstrokes, painters could create a multitude of shades, from deepest blue-black to palest dove grey. Black had always been the colour of mystery, night, the void. The better the artists got to know black ink, the more superficial, even gaudy, colour seemed. As the Daoist philosopher Laozi declared: “Colours cause the eye to go blind.”
 
Black—utterly simple yet infinitely subtle—allowed one to see the truth.
Chinese artists no longer live in a simple, natural, orderly world. They get their blacks not just from ink stones but from printer cartridges, spray cans, propane torches, X-ray film, newsprint, polyester, computer bits and steel. And they use blacks to convey realities the classical masters never dreamed of: oil spills, air pollution, megacities, mass production and political machinations. The artists in this show don’t shun light or colour, but in using them they follow Laozi’s advice: “Know the white, but hold to the black.” Containing more than ever, the dark also conceals more than ever. And it matters more than ever that we see.

Grinding 2013-16 by Shangrao, Jiangxi.

'The neatly arrayed shapes speak of isolation, anger, pointless rules and grinding toil....For all its hard edges and barbaric spikes, his meaningless anti-landscape has an air of harmony and calm.'

I had a lovely chat with the young attendant on duty in this room about how our modern phones have turned us all into artists. So many of the viewers (including myself) were searching for the right angle, the best light and shadow and the most harmonious composition. 

Art inspiring art!








Water Drops 2014 by Kung Wen-Yi and Ko Yu-Cheng




Billennium Waves 2015 (video) by Tang Nannan


Infinite Landscape 2011 by Yang Yongliang

'The ancients used landscape to convey feeling,' 
'I use landscape to criticise society.'




AIP-PF 2004 by Chang Nai-Wen


Crystal City 007, 2015 by Wu Chi-Tsung.

His crystal city is a phantom landscape of transparent skyscrapers whose reflections, refractions and shadows create a constantly changing 3-dimensional pattern under the moving light.
'I feel like our civilisation has created a new, invisible world. We can't see it, but we all live in it.'





This post is part of Saturday Snapshot.

1 comment:

  1. I agree I think it's amazing there, and they use the spaces so well. I'd love to see this exhibition, but not sure how I can fit it in before it closes. I love Grinding, although feel an almost irresistible urge to touch it.

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