RITUAL SPIRIT

30 AUGUST 2017 – 28 JANUARY 2018

HOLY SMOKE!

Chinese art was once regarded as a gift from the gods. Artists were conduits between earth and heaven; their aim was not just to capture the beauty of nature but to convey its vital “breath”. Many were recluses or monks, for whom painting and calligraphy were spiritual exercises. But that was long ago, in a China where the “three teachings” of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism suffused every aspect of life.

China today is a different country, where the official “religion” is atheism and most people are too busy making a living to spare much thought for their soul. But interest in spirituality is growing, as is the freedom to pursue it. For some contemporary artists, faith fills a personal need. “I grew up without religion,” says Tianzhuo Chen, a Buddhist. “I think that is one of the reasons I have this longing to believe.” Even for atheists or sceptics, the symbols of religion tap into deep wells of cultural memory and human meaning.

“Art is not like science,” says Gade. “It is concerned with the soul, the spiritual world.” Ni Youyu is not religious, but he thinks “a good artwork should have a sense of the divine”; otherwise, “it is just a pile of paint”. Zheng Guogu believes ideas and imagery from Tibetan Buddhism give “a new dimension” to his work. Other artists put religious symbols in outrageously secular contexts to mock the modern gods of money, power and pleasure.

The artists in RITUAL SPIRIT do not seek to raise man into heaven. But all are trying, in one sense or another, to bring the gods down to earth.

RITUAL SPIRIT is drawn completely from Judith Neilson’s renowned White Rabbit Collection.
CURATOR: David Williams

Please click on the artists’ names below to discover more information about each artist and their work.

GROUND FLOOR

PENG HUNG-CHIH (TAIWAN)
Farfur the Martyr, 2008,
stainless steel, 213 x 200 x 180

YU HONG
100 Years of Repose, 2011,
gold leaf and acrylic on canvas,
418 x 600 cm

FIRST FLOOR

GADE
Precious Objects, 2007,
stone pigments and gold on fabric,
200 x 115 cm

HOU CHUN-MING (TAIWAN)
Love and Mercy, 2012
acrylic on canvas, 190 x 190 cm

LUXURY LOGICO (TAIWAN)
Scripting, 2012,
light installation, dimensions variable

TIANZHUO CHEN
Ishvara, 2016, video, 2 hrs 4 min
Marble Painting 3 and 4, 2016,
marble, each 180 x 135 cm
#Air #Swag, 2015,
wool rug, 3 x 480 x 400 cm
OM, 2016,
LED lights, steel, 140 x 302 x 25 cm

XU QU
Ignorance, 2016,
video, 2 min 53 sec
Balcony, 2016,
iron, found objects, spray paint,
300 x 90 x 130 cm

ZONG NING
Ginseng Fruit, 2011,
inkjet print, 175 x 124.5 cm

SECOND FLOOR

CHEN YU-LIN (TAIWAN)
God Comes Down to Earth 1–14, 2013, inkjet prints, 14 pcs, 60 x 72 cm

CHEN YU-TING (TAIWAN)
On the Island 1-5, 2014
mixed media, dims variable

GENG XUE
Mr Sea, 2013–14
video, 13 min 15 sec, and porcelain installation

JUN T LAI (TAIWAN)
Nonexistence, 2009
stainless steel, 274 x 295 cm, and video of performance

PENG HUNG-CHIH (TAIWAN)
Excerpts from the Analects of Confucius, 2008, video, 15 min 38 sec

NI YOUYU
Dust (Thomas Ruff: 16h 30m –50°), 2016, chalk and glue on blackboard,
193 x 280 cm; sketch, 37 x 55 cm

OUYANG CHUN
Volcanic Ash, 2014,
bronze, dimensions variable

XU BING
New English Calligraphy—Spring, River, and Flowers on a Moonlit Night, 2012
ink on paper, 277 x 588 cm

XU ZHEN
Play 201301, 2013,
leather, BDSM accessories, foam, metal, wood, rope, 330 x 545 x 300 cm

ZHENG GUOGU
Visionary Transformation of an Insight 2, 2012, oil on canvas, 196 x 138 cm

THIRD FLOOR

CHENG RAN, ITEM IDEM
Joss, 2013, video, 6 min 3 sec

JAMES Hsieh
Dreamcatcher 1, 2012,
mixed media, 70 x 120 cm

XIA HANG
Defence, 2014,
stainless steel, 200 x 140 cm

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