Geng Xue in Conversation with Paul McDonald was held on Thursday, 17 August 2023
The Institute for Australian and Chinese Arts and Culture (IAC) at Western Sydney University is thrilled to present a very special exhibition by the Venice and Sydney Biennale artist Geng Xue from Beijing, China. The Geng Xue Solo Exhibition 2 at IAC (7 – 31 August 2023) showcases the remarkable artistic talent of Geng Xue, born in 1983, a leading artist in her generation, whose innovative approach of using clay sculpture to create animation has made a profound impact on the international art scene. Geng Xue's unique artistic language beautifully connects ancient Chinese culture with the modern world. This exhibition will be run in parallel with The Geng Xue Solo Exhibition at Vermillion Art Gallery (12 July – 31 August 2023), as two parts of Geng Xue’s works in Sydney.
During the exhibition, you will be warmly invited to Geng Xue in Conversation with Paul McDonald on Thursday 17 August at 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm at IAC. Geng Xue’s innovative approach to using clay sculpture to make animation helped her make her mark in the art world internationally nearly a decade ago. This is a contemporary way of connecting ancient Chinese culture with the modern world. Geng Xue‘s unique artistic language was presented elaborately in the exhibition Geng Xue (part 1) at the Vermilion Art Gallery.
Geng Xue’s innovative approach of using clay sculpture to make animation helped her make her mark in the art world internationally nearly a decade ago. This is a contemporary way of connecting ancient Chinese culture with the modern world. Geng Xue‘s unique artistic language was presented elaborately in the exhibition Geng Xue (part 1) at the Vermilion Art Gallery.
Mr. Sea (2014), The Poetry of Michelangelo (2015), and The Name of Gold (2019) together represent Geng Xue’s Sculptural Film Trilogy. It is intended that the Trilogy gets presented to audiences completely throughout the two parts of Exhibition Geng Xue here in Sydney. The artist incorporated different forms of art (sculpture, film, performance, poetry and music). Incorporating meticulous craftmanship, the artworks evoked strong emotional responses from viewers, especially empathy. It’s captivating that through cold glowing delicate ceramics, hot passionate love floods through; that through ‘dull’ grey clay figures, great tenderness emerges; and that the act of modelling a sculpture can feel like caring for a loved one. In these cinematic pieces, Geng Xue reflects on the universal themes of life, death, love, and loss through her clay and ceramics. The format of film not only brought life to clay, but also brought viewers into a transcendent spiritual world, where waves of emotions occur and sometimes disturb. Whilst being disturbed can be deeply uncomfortable, a space of thinking is created.
Art residencies always bring the artist new perspectives and new inspiration. Geng Xue accesses the Chinese spiritual reality of our ancestors to continue her exploration on the origins of the universe here in the southern hemisphere. The IAC provides the perfect platform for sharing Geng Xue’s cultural odyssey.
I have 15 years of artistic practice since my graduation. Through various interdisciplinary art forms such as sculpture, video, mythology, and performance, I aim to unveil the hidden emotions and spiritual realms of human nature, striving to develop my own unique artistic language. My works often evoke intense emotional experiences in people. For this exhibition in Sydney, I hope to present my art from a distinctive individual perspective and approach, offering viewers new angles to perceive our relationship with the world. I seek to discover profound connections between ourselves and the world, and to evoke a sense of inner communication among us all.
7 August to 31 August 2023
Venue: Institute for Australian and Chinese Arts and Culture Gallery, Ground Floor, Building EA, Parramatta South Campus, Western Sydney University. 171 Victoria Road, Parramatta.
Contact: Yanni Liu email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Geng Xue, born in China in 1983, graduated with an MFA from the prestigious Central Academy of Fine Arts China, where she is currently teaching. Her work has been exhibited around the world, including solo exhibitions Poetics of the Body–The Sculpture & Video Art of Geng Xue, Fengmian Art Space, China (2016), Mr Sea, Art Museum of Nanjing University of Arts, China (2014), The Other Side, National Museum of Wales, UK (2009); and recent group exhibitions which include Amassing Force - 2017 Wang Shikuo Awards, Today Art Museum, China (2017); China, Art of Movement, Annecy International Animation Film Festival, Musée-Château d’Annecy, France (2017); Holland Animation Film Festival, Netherlands (2017); Memory and Contemporaneity: China Art Today, Collateral Event of the 57th Venice Biennale, Italy (2017); 4th Jakarta Contemporary Ceramics Biennale, National Gallery of Indonesia, Indonesia (2016); China 8 - Contemporary Art from China on the Rhine and Ruhr, Germany (2015); Busan Biennale, South Korea (2014) and so on.
Through various interdisciplinary art forms such as sculpture, video, mythology, and performance, Geng Xue aims to unveil the hidden emotions and spiritual realms of human nature, striving to develop her own unique artistic language and evoking intense emotional experiences in people. For this exhibition, Geng Xue hopes to offer viewers new angles to perceive our relationship with the world.
Ariel Zhang holds a Master’s Degree in Art Management from Central Academy of Fine Art, China and has been leading the Arts Initiatives program at Bridging Hope Charity Foundation and TWT Property Group in Sydney. She has played an important role in developing and managing the Creative Precinct in St Leonards, where a range of innovative cultural exchange programs are carried out throughout the year. She also manages all corporate initiatives in supporting the art ecosystem, including public art projects for property development, TWT Excellence Prize for UNSW Art & Design Annual Exhibition, artist residency for locals and from China, art partnerships as well as the corporate art collection. Through BHCF’s major support for Big Anxiety Research Center, Ariel is passionate about and advocates for the power of art on improving people’s mental health and wellbeing. She organized China-Australia Forum on Art as Therapy in 2023.
Ariel has worked closely with many artists including Geng Xue through her active involvement in Australia – China culture exchange and know intimately their creative styles. She curated a well-known Chinese Australian artist Richard Wu’s solo exhibition in 2019. She also hosted China Contemporary Art Month forum in China Cultural Centre in 2017.
Paul McDonald is a socially engaged educator, artist and curator whose practice explores and creates a dialogue around community, social issues, masculinity and mental health. His practice is informed through research and the delivery of community participatory programs.
His most recent exhibition and publication “Study of Self” was presented in 2021-2022. The editioned book was shortlisted for the Australian PhotoBook Awards and presented at Photo 2022 in Melbourne. His photo essay summarising this series was published globally by the Guardian. He is currently represented by ‘The Little Black Gallery’, London. His photographic works have been published internationally and his work has been exhibited in over 25 countries. He completed his Master of Arts - Photojournalism and Documentary Photography in 2016, with Distinction, at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London. He is an experienced educator and manager in the creative arts. He was employed as Associate Director, Education and Public Programs at the Australian Centre for Photography. He has managed and led large staff teams and his skills include education and training, professional development, strategic planning, operational management, budgeting, resource mobilisation and corporate governance. He has lectured at the Australian Centre for Photography, Raffles College of Design and Commerce, University of the Arts London, Macleay College of Journalism and for various private organisations and local councils. He currently lectures at National Art School (NAS), Sydney, Australia.
In 2014 he founded Contact Sheet and in 2022 Working Dog Gallery. As Director of both organisations, he has overseen and curated over 40 exhibitions, presented over 350 artists and a series of free public and community programs attracting an audience of over 20,000 visitors to the spaces he manages in St Leonards, New South Wales. In 2022, he curated an exhibition of contemporary Australian art for HRH Anne, Princess Royal, on a vessel in Sydney Harbour.
Shao Yiyang, currently a professor at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, doctoral supervisor, vice president of the School of Humanities, head of Western art history research, member of the Art Theory Committee of the China Artists Association, member of the World Art History Association, director of the Chinese Oil Painting Society, Jiangsu Phoenix Art Publishing Executive Editor-in-Chief of the Society’s Visual Culture Series. In 2003, she graduated with a Ph.D. degree from the University of Sydney. She was a visiting professor at the University of Melbourne. She hosted or spoke at the World Art History Conference and the American Art History Annual Conference. In 2019, she won the International Chinese Contemporary Art Critic Award. Major works include: “After the Post-Modern” (2008 Shanghai People’s Fine Arts Publishing House), “Through the Post-Modern” (2012, Peking University Press), “History of Western Art” (2014, Peking University Press), “Modern and Contemporary Art in the 20th Century” Art History” (2018/2021), Shanghai People’s Fine Arts Publishing House), “Contemporary Art from a Global Perspective” (2019, Peking University Press) “Western Art: A Visual History” (2022 Peking University Press).