9 September 2016 – 5 February 2017
THE GROTESQUE AND THE GLORIOUS
Out in the wild lands beyond the Great Wall, there once roamed people with claws and blue skin, one-legged goblins, women with tigers’ teeth, and fish-men that walked on four fins. Such monsters and mutants posed a threat to the civilised order, so they had to be kept at a distance. Yet they were also enticing, alluring, impossible to ignore.
That is because they were us. Their freakish forms, bizarre behaviours, even their magic powers, were expressions of the lingering wildness in us all. They gave shape to our inner Swamp Creatures—the primal fears and imaginings, the lusts and eccentricities, the built-in bugs and defects beneath our standard-issue skins.
Monsters can be dangerous. To give them free rein is to invite calamity, as China’s history shows. But while the vile in us must be restrained, it cannot be suppressed. We may do away with blue-skinned tribes and fish-people, but evolutionary ape-men and cyborgs, cloned sheep and mutant viruses soon take their place. And the vile in us is not always evil. It can be beautiful, even glorious, as the artists in VILE BODIES show. In exploring the monsters we contain and the monsters we create, they enlarge our picture of the human animal.
VILE BODIES 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.
Who Am I—Family Photograph, 2013, colour drawing on wood, 46 x 80 cm
Who Am I—Self-Portrait, 2012,
colour drawing on wood, 45 x 53 cm
Long Nose, 2015,
cast bronze, graphite, 166 x 153 x 113 cm
Short Nose, 2014–15,
marble, 116 x 80 x 71 cm
Mudding Sheep, 2015,
cast bronze, graphite, 68 x 137 x 64 cm
HOU CHUN-MING (TAIWAN)
Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea, 2008, cardboard relief printing plates,
210 x 700 cm
video, 4 min 32 sec
Krafttremor—Parkinson’s Disease Orchestra, 2011,
inkjet print, 200 x 160 cm
LAM TUNG-PANG (TAIWAN)
Where Is the White Crow?, 2009–10, acrylic and ink on canvas,
365 pieces each 30 x 30 cm
SUN YUAN and PENG YU
I Didn’t Notice What I Am Doing, 2012, insect specimens,
3 pieces each 130 x 160 cm
Poor Goddess, 2013,
oil on canvas, 130 x 80 cm
Artist and Model, 2014,
oil on canvas, 142 x 101 cm
Initial Psalm, 2013,
CG video 1 min 40 sec, 3D resin prints,
5 pieces each 20 x 20 x 20 cm
WANG LVE (TAIWAN)
Cell of Dreams, 2014,
marker pen on canvas, 100 cm diam.
Sky Is Falling, 2015,
marker pen on canvas, 170 cm diam.