ACMI announces Yang Fudong exhibition

    The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) will present the largest career survey of works by internationally renowned Chinese artist, Yang Fudong, in Australia, from Thursday 4 December 2014.

    Proudly presented by ACMI as part of its special summer season, China Up Close, this world-first exhibition will showcase three seminal works by Fudong: Ye Jiang/The Nightman Cometh (2011), The Fifth Night (2010) and East of Que Village (2007). It will also feature a brand new work co-commissioned by ACMI and the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki (Auckland Art Gallery), titled New Women II (2014).

    Born in Beijing and based in Shanghai, Fudong was trained as a painter before emerging onto the international arts scene in the early 1990s when he began working with multi-channel video installations, single-channel films and photography. Today, Fudong is lauded for introducing multi-screen Chinese film installations to the West.

    Fudong’s works explore the psychology of a new generation searching for meaning in the modern world. He addresses China-specific cultural and social issues, as well as universal themes of anxiety and disillusion that permeate our contemporary, globalised society.

    Drawing on Asian and Western cinema (particularly film noir and the French avant-garde), Fudong’s dramatic and highly stylised film installations are rooted in the traditions of Chinese literature, philosophy and art. Often described as dreamlike, Fudong’s works gracefully transition between layered stories and settings, spanning multiple screens.

    ACMI director, Tony Sweeney is thrilled that ACMI is presenting Fudong’s first ever career survey of works in Australia.

    “Fudong is one of the most important and influential artists to emerge from China since the 1990s. Given Australia’s close connection to China, both geographically and culturally, this exhibition arrives at a time when questions of meaning and society have never been more pertinent.”

    Reflecting on the exhibition and the collaboration, Fudong said: “ACMI’s commission is the largest I’ve undertaken in Australia and I’m grateful for the opportunity. To some extent, my new work is about how one’s social reality, which is reflected in the micro world of our minds, witnesses or embodies a sentimental sense of unfulfillment. I look forward to sharing my recent works with the Australian public,” said Fudong.

    ACMI’s minimalist exhibition design and cavernous exhibition space will draw focus on the large scale cinematic qualities of Fudong’s celebrated works.

    “ACMI will present an immersive panorama of black-and-white, multi-channel installations that unravel across an expansive subterranean gallery. Audiences will be encouraged to sit with the works and absorb their otherworldliness,” said Sweeney.

    ACMI and Auckland Art Gallery are also delighted to be unveiling New Women II, a brand new work by Fudong, which has been co-commissioned exclusively for the exhibition. Fudong’s homage to Shanghai film in New Women (2013) continues with New Women II, a work that will this time focus on the representation of contemporary women as they navigate life in present-day China.

    New Women II perfectly complements the other film installations, most of which share a poetic and hyper-realist quality. In Ye Jiang/The Nightman Cometh (2011), a wounded soldier questions his path in life as three ghost-like characters represent his confused, chaotic state. Playing out across seven screens, The Fifth Night (2010) features a layered, disjunctive narrative reflective of new-world China. In East of Que Village (2007), wild dogs depict the growing divide between rural and urban China.

    ACMI’s Yang Fudong exhibition will show from Thursday 4 December 2014 as part of ACMI’s China Up Close program. This is a free exhibition.

    China Up Close is an expansive program presented by ACMI that explores China’s rich historic and contemporary moving image art, film and culture. It seeks to deepen Australian audiences’ understandings of Chinese screen-based practice, highlighting its symbiotic relationship with the rapid and powerful changes in Chinese culture and society. A suit of films, as well as public events, talks and a family program will surround the season’s centrepiece, Yang Fudong’s free exhibition. Detailed program information will be available in November 2014.

    Yang Fudong is represented by ShanghART Gallery, Shanghai, and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York.

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