Thursday, May 16, 2013

In Possible Worlds at 4A - 16 May

In Possible Worlds is on until 8 June, so you've got a little bit of time to get down to 4A and see it for yourself.  I am fortunate to have a regular meeting down this end of town (not surprisingly, the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is near Chinatown) and was able to pop in and check this out. I would also highly recommend hitting up Ho's Dim Sim Kitchen nearby on Pitt St where I was able to pick up a tasty little snack of prawn and pork fried dimmies to warm me up on a cold May day.

This show "brings together a selection of recent works by Australian artists Elly Kent, Claudia Nicholson and Tianli Zu".  It is part of 4A's early career artists initiative so these guys are all relatively fresh out of art school.  In the downstairs space is Elly Kent's interesting take on Indonesian batiks that she has then stretched over door and window frames.  I am not sure I really got why the doors and windows, and using familiar everyday objects for the patterns might "recontextualise" the process but it certainly makes it far less exotic, which to me is the whole point of batiks.  Maybe I am just a bigger fan of the Dutch wax cloth that is popular in Africa and is also a batik derivative.  Upstairs was where my favourite works lurked.  Top pick was easily Claudia Nicholson.  In the gallery catalogue her work is described as being interested in "the social functions of folklore and myth surrounding pregnancy and childbirth".  I didn't necessarily get that but then on her COFA resume it mentions how this particular interest is on attitudes to the illegitimate child.  As an adopted child, born in Colombia and raised in Australia I now see where Claudia is going with her work.  And it also answers my tweeted question of what happens next in her video work about the pink dolphin (spoiler, in the video a little boy recounted a folk tale of how the pink dolphin had turned into a charming gent and was at the party waiting for a woman to get drunk, now you put the two and two together).   As well as her videos she also has some great drawings (above a selection, and at top, a drawing of the infamous pink dolphin!).  I really enjoyed both her videos and her drawings.  Cross-cultural references abound, for instance you get lots of exotic drawings of South American women wearing koala slippers.   The last room contained Tianli Zu's large cut outs.  Had I realised they were inspired by "human and organic forms and genitalia" I would've looked harder.  Sadly for me it was all a bit rushed by the time I got to this last room as I had spent too much time searching for the pink dolphin!

Points:  I think these are all going to go to Claudia.  Loved her contributions.  3 points for the dolphin works (yes video + drawing), I think the video could be bit longer and also give a little more away, had I not done some extra credit homework I would've remained confused on this one.  2 for Viva La Malinche (above), this was texta and flocking powder, whatever that is.  1 point for the Prawn work 'Viva La Tunda' - don't tell me he is also gets into the act of fathering illegitmate children!  I might be back as I think I will get more out of another viewing.

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