As part of Chinese New Year celebrations, The Adelaide Festival Centre will present Stories of Life, an Australian premiere exhibition of contemporary artworks by some of China’s most fascinating artists.
Showing in the Artspace from February 6 to April 3, Stories of Life will feature painting, sculpture and multimedia works by internationally renowned artists Miao Xiaochun, Xiang Jing, Fang Lijun, Feng Yichen, Hang Chunhui, He Weijin, Li Yousong, Liu Qi, Pan Wenxun, Qin Xiuping, Xu Hualing, Zhu Zhengming and Liu Qinghe.
The artwork will explore what daily life is like in rapidly changing Chinese society from the artists’ own personal and spiritual points of view.
We had the unique opportunity of chatting with artist Pan Wenxun through translator Minglei Wang to find out about her artwork and the upcoming exhibition.
Pan is a 39-year-old artist living in Hangzhou who specialises in ink art making and was invited to be a part of Stories of Life by Professor Li Zhao who is curating the event.
Pan says her artwork is inspires by the theme of birth and death, and the beauty of growth.
“My participating artwork in Stories of Life: “The Conch” and “First Voice”, were both created in 2015, and are based on the theme of origin and the afterlife. I feel that infants, as the embodiment of this theme, have an element of holiness and purity, as well as an ample amount of adorableness. A baby’s facial appearance and body shape have not yet fully developed like an adult’s. Nonetheless, he or she contains various possibilities and potential for future growth,” she says.
“In this sense, infants represent not only “emptiness”, but also “fullness”. “The Conch” portrays a naked baby holding a conch, from which one can hear the sound of nature, as well as observe the Fibonacci Spiral formed in its structural pattern (indicating the infinite depth of the universe). “First Voice” shows the newborn infant who has just fallen into the world, with the first cry then spreading out as ripples.”
The ideas and inspiration behind her work also complement the event she is participating, which Pan says is a reason she is excited to have her work feature in the exhibition.
“As New Year represents the beginning, the meaning behind my artwork happens to coincide with that of the New Year. Since this is my first time visiting Australia, I feel as if this exhibition also incorporates the meaning of new beginnings, and also embodies the start of exchange and integration of art,” she says.
Pan uses traditional Chinese methods to create her artwork, using age old materials and techniques.
“I have applied the Chinese brush and ink method, practising colour-filling in stroke and drawing techniques to achieve the characteristic of mind-connectedness, and to evoke imagery of spreading and growth. I use Yunlong xuan paper, as well as other traditional painting materials such as Chinese brushes, ink and mineral paint to create my artwork,” she says.
Stories of Life , as curated by professor Zhao Li, is co-organised by Beijing Strategic Cultural Development with academic support by Chinese Modern & Contemporary Art Document and Art Nova 100 in association with the China Cultural Centre in Sydney.
Stories of Life will show in the Artspace from February 6 to April 3. Treasures of the Nation is another great celebration of Chinese New Year in Adelaide. Read all about it here.
By Libby Parker