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Demonstrations of Modern and Contemporary Asian Art (2)

2 December 2022 at 2:30:00 am

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Session Convenors

Dr Michelle Antoinette, Monash University

Session Speakers

Dr Michelle Antoinette, Monash University
Chloe Ho, University of Melbourne
Xin Xian Cindy Huang
Eugenia Lim, University of Melbourne

This panel invites papers on the 2022 AAANZ conference theme of ‘Demonstration’ with a broad interest in modern and contemporary Asian art and its contexts. This includes demonstrations of Asian art through art practice itself, exhibition-making and other kinds of curatorial practice, as well as art history. These demonstrations may be wide ranging in their intent, for instance: politically-motivated art demonstrations to engender change, protest, and propose alternative realities in Asia; educative or pedagogic demonstrations that literally show, teach or explain through art; and the development of modern and contemporary Asian art histories or exhibitions as forms of demonstration, to evidence or reveal the existence of art practices in the past or the present. Asian contexts are broadly defined and may include a consideration of demonstrations of Asian art outside Asia, including in Australia.

Demonstrating the National: (Singaporean?) Glass at the Venice Biennale, 1995-2001.

Chloe Ho, University of Melbourne

In 2001, Singapore participated in the 49th Venice Biennale. In its first national pavilion were works by Matthew Ngui (b. 1962-, Perth), Salleh Japar (b. 1962-, Singapore), Chen KeZhan (b. 1959-, Singapore) and Suzann Victor (b. 1959-, Sydney). SINGAPORE (10 June to 4 November 2001, Schola Santa Di Apollonia, San Marco, Venice) attempted, according to the press release, to bring together work that “address issues of identities, examining relationships of self and the physical and social environment, and responding to the urban condition and city-life of the city-state in global context.” It was an explicitly nationalist show at the historical meeting place for international modern and contemporary art.
This was not the first presentation of Singapore-affiliated art at the Biennale. The 1995 Transculture: La Biennale di Venezia included Simryn Gill (b. 1959-, Sydney). 'Washed Up' (1995) was an installation of seawashed glass collected from the beaches of Port Dickson, Malaysia and St. John’s Island, Singapore. Emancipated from the nationalist aspirations of the Singapore (or Malaysia) pavilion, 'Washed Up' continues to be understudied in these national histories. Gill will later present Here Art Grows on Trees for the 2013 Australian Pavilion.
This paper presents brief thoughts on the artistic affiliations and identity politics of Washed Up in relation to Suzann Victor’s 'Dusted by a Rich Manoeuvre' (2001). Suzann’s installation in the Singapore Pavilion, which also included glass, was instead inspired by Venetian chandeliers. I discuss how Venetian glass may demonstrate the Singapore national through the non-national reception of seawashed glass.

Contemporary Chinese Art in the 1990’s in Aotearoa, New Zealand: The International and Local Gaze

Cindy Huang

The treatment of contemporary Chinese Art in the context of Aotearoa New Zealand in the 1990’s was greatly informed by the geopolitical formation of the Asia Pacific which gave rise to the prominence of international and local diasporic contemporary artists.

There were two worlds of contemporary Chinese art exhibited in Aotearoa, the imported international Chinese art which was defined by the Cultural Revolution and the local Chinese art that was instead defined by their diasporic experience.

By examining the historical and sociological-political context the display and export of contemporary Chinese art reveals how Western hegemony has sought to define and minimise the Chinese experience.

Collective resistance: diasporic actions and shared futures through contemporary artistic practice

Eugenia Lim, University of Melbourne

This paper / performance lecture will interrogate the role of Asian diasporic contemporary artistic praxis in demonstrating and shaping collectivity, community and more socially and ecologically just futures. The paper will consider recent work by Club Ate (Justin Shoulder and Bhenji Ra) and the author (Eugenia Lim), diasporic artists based in settler-colonial Australia and working across diverse community, gallery-based, club, festival and live contexts to explore social and ecological futurity.

Framed by these practices, the paper asks: how does diasporic practice produce critical new imaginaries that counter-narrate colonial and capitalist logics? How does Club Ate’s concept of ‘future folklore’ demonstrate and make space for mutuality, cultural mythologies, queer temporalities, and emancipatory futures within and beyond the art world? How does the author’s practice shape unexpected alliances and solidarities between artists, workers and more-than-human collaborators?

Orienting from the situated body, place and perspective of the artist-researcher, this paper will consider how oceanic, diasporic, collaborative and anti-racist artistic praxis can frame new ways of sensing and becoming beyond colonial, canonical and capitalist space-time.



Dr Michelle Antoinette, Monash University 

Dr Michelle Antoinette is a Senior Lecturer and Researcher in Art History and Theory at Monash University. Her research focuses on modern and contemporary Asian art histories, especially of Southeast Asia. Her significant publications include Reworlding Art History: Encounters with Contemporary Southeast Asian Art after 1990 and with Caroline Turner, Contemporary Asian Art and Exhibitions: Connectivities and World-making. The recipient of two prestigious Australian Research Council Fellowships, in 2020 she coedited a special issue of World Art with Francis Maravillas on ‘Contemporary Art Worlds and Art Publics in Southeast Asia’ connected to her project ‘Asian Art Publics’ (DE170100455). 

Chloe Ho, University of Melbourne 

Chloe Ho is a doctoral candidate in Art History at the University of Melbourne. Her interest is in twentieth and twenty-first century Singapore art, specifically in relation to performance and installation art and art historiography. She investigates the place of performance in the transmission of art and the art historical in the Singapore context, looking at artistic works, social phenomena and its relation to society. Her current research project attempts to account for the transmission of art critical and art historical knowledge in the Singapore context outside Western structures of knowledge with a special focus on the late 1980s to the present. 

Cindy Huang 

Cindy Huang is Aotearoa based contemporary artist and recent graduate of Master of Heritage Conservation. She is a second generation Chinese New Zealander and has graduated from Elam School of Fine Arts with Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours, Bachelor Arts and Master of Heritage Conservation from The University of Auckland. Recent artistic projects include the temporary public installation Twin Cultivation which invited pairs of strangers to harvest a ceramic vegetable to gift to each other from a miniature garden at Panmure Train Station and Britomart (Auckland) and A Footnote on New Zealand History at Corban Estate. 

Eugenia Lim, University of Melbourne 

Eugenia Lim is an Australian artist of Chinese-Singaporean descent who works across body, lens, social and spatial practice to explore how national identities, migration and capital cut, divide and bond our interdependent world. An ongoing strand of practice considers work, collectivity, technology and ethics – and art and capital as strange bedfellows. Often a performer within her own works, Lim invents personas to explore the tensions of the individual within society – the alienation and belonging in a globalised world. Based on unceded lands in the Kulin Nation, Lim has exhibited, screened or performed at the Tate Modern, LOOP Barcelona, FIVA (Buenos Aires), Recontemporary (Turin), Kassel Dokfest, Museum of Contemporary Art (Syd), ACCA, Next Wave, ACMI, FACT Liverpool, EXiS (Seoul) and Kunsthal Charlottenborg (DK). She has been artist-inresidence with the Experimental Television Centre (NY), Bundanon Trust, 4A Beijing Studio, Gertrude Contemporary, and she co-founded CHANNELS Festival. Lim is the winner of Charlottenborg Spring’s 2022 Deep Forest Art Land Award and is a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne.

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