Best Art Gallery in Australia ?

Yesterday, First Mate and I visited the White Rabbit Gallery in Chippendale, Sydney – a new gallery devoted to 21st Century Chinese Art.

Shi Jindian's 3D Blueprint in wire

The sculpture above completely blew me away.  Made from blue wire and fine filigree, it is a full scale model – or perhaps a three dimensional blueprint – an astonishingly accurate rendition of a Chinese copy of a Russian copy (Dnepr) of a German copy (Zundapp) of a WWII BMW motorcycle with side car.  For those of us interested in motorcycles I (as an  owner of a 1954 BMW motorcycle) can tell you that this piece was accurate right down to the old fashioned side valves inside the engine.

You can check out the bikeology here.

We were astounded and completely in awe of the collection.  And let me apologise right now because a few clips from the web site don’t in any way do the exhibition justice, but if it provides you with a taste, that’s a fair start.

Walking through the gallery’s four levels we were greeted with the most amazing art works we have seen in a very long time – and hosted by incredibly well-informed minders on each of the four floors.  Whereas the NSW Gallery tends to have surly guard-types minding the treasures, the predominantly young minders  at White Rabbit were deeply knowledgeable, enthusiastic – and without being intrusive – were very available for a discussion or to answer questions about art works that are most likely to be unfamiliar amongst westerners and Chinese people who are more used to traditional forms.

Three artists working as "Unmasked" - their pieces are a view of the Iraq conflict and the translation was "Men who cast no shadows".

The pieces showed a sensational array of colour, materials, subjects  and different motifs – sculptural, photographic, paintings – on very large (two storeys) and very tiny (use the magnifying glass) scales and everywhere showing a wonderful commitment to excellent execution that speaks of months and years of work in individual pieces.

Some pieces were riotously funny.

Chilli - curiously reminiscent of a Burnside Refugee jam session.

This one by  Chi Lei (Chilli – a fan of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers) was a part of a disturbing cinematic  still montage.  Others in the series set in a “celebs” hotel were softly pornographic, debauched, bizarre and even forensic.

Some of the works by activist  artists reflected profound anger with political disenfranchisement.  Others are eerily disturbing and still others sad and reflective.

Wang Luyan's bi-directional pistol

We were deeply moved by the 10 metre panoramic photographic work of Jin Feng (Appeals without Words) depicting a large group of golden-skinned peasants protesting the state theft of their land, holding paper signs without words (because no official would read the signs).

Mao's Limo - was signed upside down and hng that way, Hung.

And the large scale photographs of parts of Chairman Mao’s limousine (with two discreet bullet holes in the window) speak softly but with great power of the irony of a communist owning a limousine.

The White Rabbit Gallery shows parts of an extensive collection and reflects the superb curation of the Director, Judith Neilson.  This, the second exhibition (The Tao of Now) finishes at the end of July and the gallery will be closed during August when the third Exhibition (opening in September) is being prepared.

Do yourself a huge favour and go if you can.  It’s worth every minute.  If you can’t go, do visit the website and take your time to see a wonderful collection of works by contemporary Chinese artists.

About Therese Trouserzoff

I think that in a just society, no mining magnate should be forced to go through life without a moral compass. OK for media magnates to do so, though.
This entry was posted in Cricics, Critics, Everyone's a Critic, Emmjay and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to Best Art Gallery in Australia ?

  1. It’s looking very nice, Thanks Emmjay for sharing this post about the white rabbit gallery. Right now, I am not in Australia so therefore I cannot visit there. Anyway, I love Australian aboriginal art work.

  2. H says:

    Thanks Emmjay for telling us Piglets about The White Rabbit gallery. We visited it today, and absolutely loved it; the gallery is amazing and the art even more so. I too liked the the ten metre painting, and the glass panel ‘thing’ gave me goose pimples…

    I advise everybody to go and see it…when we were driving home, Daughter rang and said that she had just missed us and was having a second look at the artworks.

  3. Voice says:

    Fun. Profound. Free. Of note is the cross-over between Design and Art.

    Chippendale is still a dump, but partially gentrified as was of course inevitable due to its location. On a shortcut back to Harris St passed used needle, dead cockroach, heavily barred windows, strongly padlocked doors, a strong smell of gas, and a food co-op in a narrow alleyway. Big development called “Central Park” taking place behind boards. With a name like that it HAS to be a high-rise. Still, no reason it couldn’t be good.

    • Voice says:

      Just had to pop over here and say something about the deeply and obsequiously bowing, and even more obsequiously smiling, Oriental gentlemen (three over-sized statues) at the exit. Sent a shiver.

      • Emmjay says:

        Good call, Voice. I found them creepy and unsettling – but they were not the only unsettling art there, were they ?

        I gather that you thought the visit worthwhile. If so, I’m glad.



  4. H says:

    Emmjay, according to Daughter the exhibition at The White Rabbit is fantastic, she’s going there again soon, and advised us to visit it.

    • Emmjay says:

      We were tempted to go again but lacked the time on a very busy weekend, H. Don’t forget that this exhibition is closing soon (maybe this coming Sunday at the end of the day ?) and the gallery will stay shut until September when the new exhibition opens. So – rush along.

      Daughter is right !

      Marvellous place, wondrous art.

      Did you catch Gaudi on ABC2 last night ? Far far better material than the debate and probably far better than Master Chef too.

  5. H says:

    Emmjay, how come this arty story drew all those Finnish bikies here, why didn’t they flock to your Biking to Timbaktu :)
    Do those bikes come from Ural mountains, why are they called Uraltroikka, ‘troikka’ means long line…long line of bikies from Ural???

    Then there’s the other one, Russianiron, are their bikes made from iron ????

    • N. says:

      Hi H.
      Bikers club is called Uralroikka (without T) and it´s a club for people who like russian made bikes like Ural, Dnepr, K-750, IC and so on.
      Club name means a group of uralists.
      Ural bikes comes from ural mountais from town of Irbit.
      Dnepr comes from city of Kiev, Ukraine.

      This site that im posting on is found as a link to the bluewire model.

      a Member of Uralroikka.

      • H says:

        Hi N, Thanks for explaining it all; at least I got the bit about Ural right !
        Sorry about adding T to your club’s name, it kind of slipped in…

        There are some biking enthusiasts here at Pig’s Arms, Emmjay, Theseustoo, Tomokatu…and even Gerard :)

      • Emmjay says:

        Hi N.

        Thanks for coming over to the Pig’s Arms. Have a look at the pieces on the Ducati 900ss and the old Ducati 250 Mk 3 !

        I’m a big fan of the 70s and earlier BMWs. I recall that (I think it was Urals) were sold in Australia for a while – under the brand name of “Cossacks”.

        I’m wondering whether the current bikes are exported to Australasia.

    • Emmjay says:

      I think the search engines picked up the names of the bikes on the blue bike in the Art Gallery story – Dnepr, Zundapp, and that got circulated on twitter and facebook. A bunch of new viewers came in today from Los Angeles custom bike shop Falcon. Cool. VERY cool bike shop.

      Russian Iron – “iron” is another slang term – iron horse, grid, ride etc….

      The logo of the Ural Bike Club – has a very long line of bikes …..

  6. Hung One On says:

    The Burnside Refugees are gentlemen, then we start playing…..

  7. Voice says:

    Needing to entertain interstate visitors next Saturday, and this could be the solution. Thanks for the excellent timing.

    • Voice says:

      Is there a decent medium to low priced place to eat around there? I had been planning Yum Cha around Haymarket since they are at Darling Harbour. I don’t normally get to the slums around Sydney University. Maybe it’s not too far from Haymarket.

  8. H says:

    Looks interesting, will go and see it Emm. I will also tell friends and family members to check it out.

  9. Big M says:

    I remember the Dnepr was marketed in Australia as the ‘Russian Cossack’ in the 80’s. They looked like pre-war vintage bike, a bit like the Amazonas (VW engined, shaft drive, from Brazil).

    Good find, Emm. Loved the Chairman’s car!

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