SCAF 2012 [Culture+Ideas: Go Figure! Chinese Portraiture]
  • SUN Yuan Peng Yu Old Peoples Home 2 Large image
  • SUN Yuan Peng Yu Old Peoples Home 1 Large image
  • SUN Yuan Peng Yu Old Peoples Home 5 Large image

Project 15: Go Figure! Contemporary Chinese Portraiture
15 ⁄ 09 ⁄ 2012 – 01 ⁄ 12 ⁄ 2012

We were delighted to support this unique collaboration - one exhibition, two cities – between the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation (SCAF) and the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) to present contemporary Chinese portraiture from the collection of former Swiss diplomat and art collector, Uli Sigg, widely acknowledged as the largest and most significant collection of contemporary Chinese art in the world. The exhibition included painting, drawing, mixed media, sculpture, photography, video and installation works by Chinese artists from 1979 to the present, and the works are provocative, playful, political and engaging. 

Go Figure! explored the idea of play - artists' liberal use of humour, irony and the absurd - that is present in much experimental Chinese art.  The central work shown at SCAF was Sun Yuan and Peng Yu's, Old People's Home, thirteen lifesize wheelchairs and sculpted hyper real figures reminiscent of elderly world leaders. The wheelchairs perambulated around the entire gallery space with technical features that allowed these mobile symbols of infirmity to avoid visitors. 

Other artists that exhibited at SCAF included Ai Weiwei, Shen Shaomin, Wang Jianwei and Zhou Tao. Uli Sigg donated 1,463 works from the collection to Hong Kong's M+ Museum which will open in 2017, part of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority development.

Why did we choose to fund this project? This exhibition provided the Australian public with the opportunity to engage with the best of Uli Sigg's impressive private collection of contemporary Chinese art. Exposure to these artworks reveals the questions being explored, and commentary made by, Chinese artists - and in doing so, provides a unique portal into the psyche of a nation that is a major force in today's economic landscape.

Download SCAF Media Release

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