White Rabbit is one of the most innovative galleries in Sydney. A modern grey edifice nestled beside a magnificent jacaranda tree, whose leaves provide a fragile purple welcome mat, it is a truly unique Sydney treasure.
Their latest offering is Heavy Artillery, a group show which features Chinese and Taiwanese artists.
Prominent themes in this exhibition are identity and tradition and the modernist impact on both. Furthermore, the restrictive atmosphere in which Chinese artists live results in work which is subtly subversive and intricately planned.
He Xiangyu’s contribution, ‘Tank Project’ (2011–2013), is a life sized leather replica of a Chinese tank. The creator surreptitiously sneaked into an army base to obtain accurate dimensions, and this exemplifies the bravery required for free expression in a repressive state.
Xu Zhen’s sculptures are typified by a combination of Western and Asian influences. ‘European Thousand-Armed Sculpture’ (2013–2014), has the artist reproducing 19 Western deities, including the Statue of Liberty and Athena, and aligning them to produce a Buddhist style multi-armed goddess.
In addition there is artist collective Polit-Sheer-Form Office (PSFO), whose name is an ironic nod to bureaucracy. Their masterpiece, ‘Library’, a work of 25 bookshelves and 10,000 books, is a daring comment on Mao’s once ubiquitous little red book.
Heavy Artillery showcases the craft, the cunning and the imagination of artists who need to navigate the perils of political indoctrination and censorship. These creations are a tribute to their ability to circumvent a conformist society to produce soaring works of art. (LR)
Mar 9–Aug 7 (10am-5pm, Wed-Sun). White Rabbit Gallery, 30 Balfour Street, Chippendale. Admission Free. Info: whiterabbitcollection.org