The Sleeper Awakes

9 March – 29 July 2018

A DREAM WHERE AMBITION AND OPTIMISM CO-EXIST WITH PERVASIVE STATE CONTROL

In HG Wells’s novel “The Sleeper Awakes”, the hero emerges from a 200-year coma to find a world of brainwashed slaves ruled by a council of despots. “We were making the future,” he says, recalling his socialist youth, “and hardly any of us troubled to think what future we were making.”

If Mao Zedong rose from his mausoleum today, what would he and his revolutionaries make of the colourful chaos around them? Would they condemn their successors for embracing a market economy, or be amazed by the wealth and productivity it has unleashed? Would they decry the lack of struggle sessions and thought reform, or applaud today’s subtler methods of manipulation—from censorship and surveillance to Twitter campaigns and “citizenship scores” for good behaviour?

And what would the old guard make of the artists in THE SLEEPER AWAKES, with their irreverently sceptical view of the regime and its narratives? Visiting an invented nation ruled by tricksters that retains its integrity only by disappearing, would the Maoists suspect that their utopian ambitions were being mocked? How would they react to a video game based on the revered Long March in which a socialist hero armed with Coke cans does battle with robots and aliens? Would they have any sympathy for the artists who, discarding official histories as false, seek their private truths in memory and shadows?

Seventy years after the Maoists vowed to wake China’s “sleeping lion” and build a socialist utopia, the future has arrived—but is it the one they dreamed of?

THE SLEEPER AWAKES is drawn completely from Judith Neilson’s renowned White Rabbit Collection.
CURATOR: David Williams

Take a Virtual Tour of the “The Sleeper Awakes” Exhibition here.

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

GROUND FLOOR

PENG HUNG-CHIH (TAIWAN)
The Deluge—Noah’s Ark, 2014,
3D prints, 180 x 800 x 180 cm

FIRST FLOOR

SUN XUN
Republic of Jing Bang, 2013:
31-Metre-Long Scroll Painting of Jing Bang, ink on paper, 3100 x 250 cm
Mountain Ghost of Jing Bang; Hero of Jing Bang; Land of Jing Bang; Old man of Jing Bang; Mother of Jing Bang, paper pulp painting, ink, paper pulp frame,
each 3202.5 x 177 x 8cm
Citizenship Box, mixed media, 48.5 x 57 x 11 cm
Citizenship Box Animation, video, 2 min 30 sec
Divine Landscape of Jing Bang, ink, cast paper, cotton pulp, stainless steel, 6 panels each 226.5 x 150cm
Friends for Life, plywood, ink, 126.5 x 69 x 2 cm
National Flag A, embroidered fabric, stainless steel,
200 x 112.3 cm
National Flag B, embroidered fabric, stainless steel,
270 x 50.6 cm
Storyboard of Jing Bang, book, ink, collage,
51 x 980 cm

Posters, ink on paper, 11 pcs each 109.5 x 79 cm
Posters—Flag Edition, screen print on silk,
12 pcs each 122 x 89 cm
Posters—Exhibition Set, screen prints on silk, stainless steel, 12 pcs each 225 x 86.5 cm
Untitled, ink on paper, 132 x 70.5 cm
Heaven and Earth, ink on cast abaca paper, d. 73 cm

SECOND FLOOR

FENG MENGBO
Long March—Restart, 2008,
video game installation, dimensions variable

LIU XIAODONG
Weight of Insomnia, 2016
computer-driven painting machine, live video stream, acrylic on canvas, 320 x 430 x 250 cm

WANG NINGDE
Some Days (series), 2002–2009
gelatin silver prints, various dimensions

XU BING
Dragonfly Eyes, 2016
video, 1 hour 20 minutes

XU QU
Occupation, 2016,
used cameras, fluorocarbon paint, steel cable,
360 x 100 x 80 cm
Scopophilia, 2016,
steel plates, camera lenses,
4 pieces each 48 x 48 x 48 cm
Zhang Qing’an, 2016,
photo prints on composite panels, camera lenses,
5 pieces each 120 x 90 x 20 cm

THIRD FLOOR

CHEN ZHUO, HUANG KEYI
China Carnival 1—Tiananmen, 2007,
chromogenic colour print, 120 x 180 cm

HUANG XIAOLIANG
Walking—Man, 2016, video projection, 31 m 40 s
Window—Boy, 2016, video projection, 34 m 33 s
Window—Man, 2016, video projection, 31 m 40 s
Window—Makeup, 2016, video projection, 12 m 22 s

SUN XUN
Time Spy, 2016,
video animation, 9 min 3 sec

Close Menu