The Dark Matters

8 March – 30 July 2017

HOW BLACK IS DARKNESS?

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. They used it not only for writing but for painting, which they saw as just another way to express their thoughts. 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.

THE DARK MATTERS 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

LIN YAN
Sky 2, 2016,
ink, paper, dimensions variable

FIRST FLOOR

SUN LEI
Clarity, 2009,
plastic on lightbox, 80 x 140 x 160 cm

SHI JINSONG
Design 2007—Instruments of Torture, 2007, steel, paint, 123 x 220 x 51 cm

LI QIANG
Seascape, 2015,
printed paper 156 x 330 cm

KONG CHUN-HEI (TAIWAN)
Brick, 2014, ink on paper on board, 6 pcs ea 6 x 9.8 x 21.5 cm

Shao Fan
Five-Legged Table, 2011,
red sandalwood, 88 x 100 x 30 cm

CHANG NAI-WEN (TAIWAN)
AIP-PF, 2014, marble, 30 x 160 x 28 cm

WU CHI-TSUNG (TAIWAN)
Crystal City 007, 2015, metal, motor, plastic, LEDs, dims variable

NICK DONG (TAIWAN)
Cosmic Dance, 2015,
mixed media, 109 x 62 x 62 cm

FENG MENGBO
Not Too Late, 2010
video installation, dims variable

JENNIFER WEN MA
Brainstorm, 2009
video animation, 10 min 40 sec

LIN KE
Star Travel, 2013
video animation, 2 min 10 sec

WANG WEIYU
Let’s Wait Together, 2014
video animation, 4 min 36 sec

DAI HUA
Monkey King, 2016
video animation, 4 min 30 sec

EDIE YANG
The Fruit, 2012
video animation, 1 min 30 sec

CHENG RAN
Summanus Butterfly, 2010
video, 4 min 22 sec

ZHOU ZIXI
Xiaogang Caves 025, 2015
oil on canvas, 300 x 602 cm

XU ZHEN (MadeIN Co)
Under Heaven 0302VS0137, 2013, 
oil on canvas, 170 x 250 cm

HSU YUNG-HSU (TAIWAN)
2012-33, 2012
stoneware, 210 x 152 x 42 cm

HUANG BO-HAO (TAIWAN)
Untitled, 2016
gold leaf on linen, 190 x 190 cm

Ren Hang 
Untitled, 2012,
chromogenic colour print, 100 x 67 cm
Untitled, 2014, 
chromogenic colour print, 67 x 100 cm

SECOND FLOOR

KUNG WEN-YI, KO YU-CHEN (TAIWAN)
Water Drops, 2014,
ceramic, dimensions variable

WEN-YING HUANG (TAIWAN)
Searching II, 2014,
cotton and synthetic fibres, 270 x 388 cm

HU LIU
Grass, 2015,
pencil on paper, 109 x 253 cm

JIANG PENGYI
Grace 1, 2014, inkjet print, 160 x 227 cm
Trace series, 2015–16,
Polaroid emulsion lifts, dim variable

LIN TIANMIAO
Focus 1 and 2, 2007,
lithographs on handmade paper with mixed media, each128 x 102 cm

TANG NANNAN
Billennium Waves, 2015,
video, 4 min 3 sec
The Sea in the Sea 60 and 61, 2015,
ink on paper, 124 x 246 cm

LI XIAOFEI
Assembly Line—Silent Series 2, 10, 35, 2012–14, videos
A Packet of Salt, 2013, video, 7 min 26 sec
A Cart of Coal, 2015, video, 10 min 52 sec

YANG YONGLIANG
Infinite Landscape, 2011,
digital video, 7 min 30 sec

THIRD FLOOR

YANG MUSHI
Grinding, 2013–16,
lacquered wood, 55 x 510 x 780 cm

CHEN CHUN-HAO (TAIWAN)
12 Animals—Rabbit, Monkey, Chicken, 2015, headless nails on canvas on board, ea 60 x 60 cm

HUANG PO-CHIH (TAIWAN)
Flov”er 2006, 2006, video, 5 min 44 sec

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