From Stella Rosa McDonald…
Paradi$e Bitch is White Rabbit’s largest exhibition to date and is a curated selection of works from the private collection of Judith Neilsen whose appetite for contemporary Chinese art has yet to wane. The show’s title is borrowed from Tianzhuo Chen’s featured video Paradi$e Bitch, 2013, in which a gansta dwarf, playing both angel and devil, raps and drools to a hip hop soundtrack. Chen’s recent solo exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris featured a unique collection of ornate glass bongs, a sprawling installation of fabric banners and objects marked by his personal language of erotica. Audiences walked amongst the excess of grotesque performances to a thumping soundtrack. As dedications to the collapse of morality Chen’s works fuse and then confuse celebrity, drug and LGBT culture. His video is positioned as a point of departure for the other works in Paradi$e Bitch, which drift thematically from Chinese club culture to the tension between Eastern and Western art to the effects of addiction.
Shi Yong’s A Bunch of Happy Fantasies renders in neon a poem written by a friend of the artist while under the influence of opium. The stanzas are inverted and bristle with a neon glow, burning their reflections on the floor. Largely the poem is senseless—a drug induced reverie—but Yong was drawn to make it into an object that represents an illusion, thus making the unreal real. There is much mention of ‘dreaming’, ‘heaven’, ‘vision’ and ‘fantasy’ by the exhibiting artists and the attendant texts of Paradi$e Bitch, a linguistic trails that leads us to find that these artists each interrogate by degrees the spiritual life of the Chinese people. Paradi$e Bitch is an exhibition as kitsch as it is perceptive, viewing it is less like peering through a window into another world than catching a DeLorean time machine to its very heart.
Until early February 2016
White Rabbit Gallery, Chippendale
Pic: Shi Yong, A Bunch of Happy Fantasies, 2009, neon lights, acrylic stands, dimensions variable. Image courtesy of the artist and White Rabbit Gallery