“Many Chinese Artists Are Dealing With The Same Issues As Other Artists”

Paris Neilson Of Sydney’s White Rabbit Gallery Discusses Chinese Contemporary Art

Sydney's White Rabbit Gallery

Sydney’s White Rabbit Gallery

Jing Daily has previously covered Sydney’s White Rabbit Gallery, which has, since its opening two years ago, has established itself as the city’s (and perhaps Australia’s) top venue for Chinese contemporary art. Founded by collector Judith Neilson to house the nearly 200 works by 60 Chinese artists she has amassed over the past 11 years,  White Rabbit regularly displays works by Chinese artists ranging from superstars to the unknown, organizing unorthodox exhibitions and, most recently, pairing up with events like the Adelaide Festival Centre’s 2011 OzAsia Festival for cooperative shows.

This week, Judith Neilson’s daughter and the manager of White Rabbit, Paris Neilson, spoke to the Sydney Morning Herald about Chinese contemporary art, sharing a few observations and pointers for those interested in the scene. A few choice excerpts from the interview:

SMH: What is behind the rise of privately funded art spaces in Australia?

Paris Neilson (PN): I don’t really know if there is a rise. There are a few spaces, with MONA opening in Tasmania. In our case, we had this collection and we didn’t just want to keep it locked up. We wanted to share it with people.

SMH: Are there similar galleries in China?

PN: There are more private museums opening. Contemporary art isn’t as popular because it’s still considered a risky investment.

SMH: Have art critics in the West struggled to learn how to deal with contemporary Chinese art?

JN: I don’t think so. A lot of Chinese artists are dealing with the same kinds of issues as other artists. That’s especially true of the artists born after the Cultural Revolution.

SMH: Any tips for the traveller to Beijing?

JN: Go and check out 798 and Cao chang di – two big areas of galleries.

For more about China’s increasingly noticeable private museum trend, see Jing Daily’s coverage of the upcoming Dragon Art Museum, which billionaire collector and investor Liu Yiqian and his wife, Wang Wei, plan to open in November 2012.

 

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Art & Auction, Culture