The exploration of new territories, challenging and provoking debate are all mission critical for university art museums and galleries. These types of institutions and exhibition spaces sit within structures dedicated to creative practice, research, learning, challenging and questioning. It should come as no surprise that the new season of UNSW Galleries simultaneously presents a landmark international exhibition alongside an art-science research collaboration that explores the very structures of the mind and brain.

Join us at UNSW Galleries from 6pm tonight for the openings of:

  • Ink Remix: Contemporary Art from Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong

  • Shona Illingworth: Lesions in the Landscape 

Ink Remix: Contemporary Art from mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong

Ink Remix showcases artists from across mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.  All exhibitors are well versed in the rich traditions, histories and legacies of ink wash painting across Asian cultures, but their departure from tradition is as unique for the individual artist as it is profound. 

The artists in the Ink Remix show were selected specifically for their understanding of the nature and history of brush stroke painting and their ability to manipulate, rethink and subvert the tradition.   The exhibition is a showcase and celebration of their reinterpretations, including videos, multi media works, installations and pen and ink on silk, tofu and high heeled rice paper boots.

The 14 selected artists, including Chen Shaoxiong, Feng Mengbo, He Xiangyu, Hung Keung, Cindy Ng, Sio Ieng, Ni Youyu, Pan Hsin-hua, Peng Hung-chih, Peng Wei, Qin Zhijie, Wilson Shieh, Charwei Tsai, Yang Yongliang, and Yao Jui-chung are without exception contemporary, having all been born after 1960.  They each have lived through and experienced social and political turmoil as a result of the rise of China; a phenomenon that economists and political analysts acknowledge as the most monumental force of social and economic change the world has experience in the last century. 

Ink Remix references both ancient and modern influences on people from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.  

For example, exhibitor Peng Wei, one of very few women who has managed to break into the hierarchy of the male dominated contemporary Chinese art world, has created an immediately recognisable bold yet delicate aesthetic style.   She places ancient motifs on pieces of modern fashion, and has even collaborated with Italian fashion icon, Sergio Rossie, to highlight the impact of globalisation and consumerism on cultural heritage.  Her works on exhibit in Ink Remix include a mannequin bust encased in rice paper and decorated with pen and ink and figures huddled at a traditional closed double door.  Two sets of high-heeled rice paper boots entitled Winter Mountain and Tang Dynasty Polo will also be on display. 

Taiwanese artist, Charwei Tsai uses video, photography and performance works to explore Buddhism philosophy.  Tsai’s 2014 Spiral Incense Mantra saw her apply traditional calligraphy to massive spiral incense rings, which were custom made by a family owned and run incense factory in southern Taiwan.   The spirals were then hung from the gallery ceiling and burned to manifest the Buddhist concept of nothingness in this recorded performance piece.  In Ink Remix, Tsai will present a time-lapse video of ink brush-work on organic materials including tofu, meat and mushrooms as well as black ink renderings of bonsai trees on lithographs.  

Yao Jui-Chung is unmatched in his homeland of Taiwan for intensity and proliferation.  He represented Taiwan at the Venice Biennale in 1997 just after completing his military service.  He is a teacher, a curator and sought after artist by museums and galleries around the world.  His work is often confronting, political and visually arresting.  For Ink Remix, he’s created works that will likely meet with local public appeal. They are detailed adaptations of traditional ‘Guilin-style’ mountain ranges, done in oil pen and gold leaf, with a small oasis of the Australian continent rising from the central panel.  Iconic Australian imagery is highlighted in golden bubbles.

The exhibition is curated by contemporary Chinese art scholar, Dr Sophie McIntyre, and presented in partnership with the Canberra Museum and Gallery.

Associated Events

3 March
6pm at UNSW Galleries

15 March
Artists in Conversation
12pm at UNSW Galleries 

Ink Remix Curator, Sophie McIntyre, in conversation with artists Charwei Tsai and Yao Jui-Chung.

Shona Illingworth: Lesions in the Landscape

Lesions in the Landscape is an unflinching and personal exploration of memory and individuality.  Shona Illingworth is a UK based artist who works in the mediums of film, video, sound, photography, painting and drawing.  She has a particular thematic interest in neuropsychological models of memory, or, the knowledge and rules that govern working memory systems, and when and how these systems sometimes break down.

While Illingworth’s artwork can explores memory loss in broad social dimensions, in her latest work she examines the life of a real woman named Claire, who woke one day at the age of 44 from a coma with impaired ability to recall most of her past, including the raising of her own children.  

In the exhibition, Claire’s individual experience is portrayed alongside a visual narrative of the depopulated island of St Kilda, located 64 kilometres west northwest of North Uist in the North Atlantic, containing westernmost islands of Outer Hebrides of Scotland.

Illingworth presents viewers with aerial shots of the island, featuring the remaining foundations of buildings dating from the Late Middle Ages. Alongside images of rock formations, water and archaeological sites, sit portraits of Claire.  Both Claire and Illingworth travelled to the island of St Kilda to film the vast and empty landscape.  Illingworth used her own video and photographic equipment to document St Kilda.  At the same time, Claire utilised a special devise that hangs on a cord about her neck; a SenseCam - a special camera that allows her to catalogue and review her day.

Lesions in the Landscape is an immersive, audio-visual display of films and photographs taken by both Illingworth and Claire.  The visual archive includes pictures of the island of St Kilda and an image the brain lesion that has caused Claire’s loss of memory.

Lesions in the Landscape is curated by Professor Jill Bennett from UNSW Art & Design.  The project is the culmination of a partnership between UNSW’s National Institute for Experimental Arts and the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT) in Liverpool .

Illingworth is artist-in-residence at UNSW Art & Design.

More information on Lesions in the Landscape can be found here.

Associated Events

3 March

6pm at UNSW Galleries

4 March
Amnesia Museum Forum

2 – 5pm at UNSW Galleries

Neuroscientists, psychologists, writers and artists speak about brain science and art in this forum, including Prof Michelle Moulds, Prof Michael Balfour, Dr Maria Angel, Prof Lynn Froggett, Dr Muireann Irish, Shona Illingworth and Prof Jill Bennett.

RSVP by 5pm, 3 March to Rachael Kiang.

More information.