THEN. White Rabbit Gallery Turns Ten!

White Rabbit Gallery celebrates its tenth anniversary with an exhibition that recaptures the excitement of its very first shows in 2009 and 2010.

White Rabbit Gallery celebrates its tenth birthday with THEN, a show that fizzes with the excitement of Chinese contemporary art at the start of the twenty-first century, recalling Judith Neilson’s astonishment and delight in her first forays into artists’ studios in Beijing and Shanghai.

Curator David Williams says THEN provides an opportunity for visitors to see works from the earliest years of Neilson’s White Rabbit Collection in a new light.  Chinese artists in the first decade of the century applied their technical virtuosity with humour and a sharply critical eye to comment on a dramatically changing society. Looking back to the very first White Rabbit exhibitions, we revisit works that enthralled visitors in 2009, starting with Chen Wenling’s satirical observation of a newly wealthy China in the form of a porcine red car with a grotesque 11-metre gold tongue. Wang Zhiyuan’s Object of Desireis an enormous pair of pink fibreglass underpants complete with flashing lights and a soundtrack of Shanghai songs of the 1930s, suggesting that love is just another commodity in a society where ‘to get rich is glorious’. Dai Hua’s I Love Beijing Tiananmenis a more than 6-metre long digital printed scroll that introduces DVD and ice cream sellers, assorted animals, graffiti artists, Batman, Superman, and an emperor with no clothes into the pomp and ceremony of imperial processions and military might.

 Bu Hua’s feisty, cigarette-smoking schoolgirl makes a reappearance, as do Jiao Xingtao’s monumental sculptures of the detritus of a throwaway society and Chen Fei’s terrifying flesh-coloured, blob-like creatures sliced open to reveal glistening viscera of jewellery and cosmetics. Bingyi’s Six Accounts of a Floating Lifecombines references to Chinese classical literature with the artist’s reflections on love and loss, Jin Nv’sethereal installation of starched children’s frocks poignantly evokes lost childhoods, and Zhang Dali’s naked, anonymous figures in Chinese Offspring reflect his empathy with the migrant workers whose labour built China’s new wealth.

The gallery theatrette will feature a program of works from some of the most significant pioneers of Chinese video art, including Zhang Peili, Zhou Xiaohu, Zhu Jia and Yang Zhenzhong.

Among the more than 60 works in THEN you will rediscover old favourites – and a few new surprises. Artists include Chang Xugong, He Yunchang, Xu Bing, Li Shan, Song Yongping, He Jia, Tamen, Gao Xiaowu, Zhang Hai’er, Huang Yan, Zhu Jinshi, Chen Wei, Chen Yanyin and Xu Zhen.

The White Rabbit Gallery was established in 2009 to share Judith Neilson’s private collection of 21st-century Chinese art with the public. The Gallery is a registered charitable institution funded solely by Judith Neilson.

THEN, curated by David Williams, opens on 11 September at White Rabbit Gallery, 30 Balfour Street, Chippendale. 10am - 5pm.

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