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4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art
2016.07.30 Sat - 2016.09.24 Sat
Opening Exhibition
4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art 181 – 187 Hay Street Haymarket, Sydney NSW 2000
+61 2 9212 0380
Opening Hours
11AM – 6PM Tuesday – Saturday
Closed on public holidays

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“Sea Pearl White Cloud”
Guangzhou’s Observation Society
[Press Release]

Sea Pearl White Cloud is a project realised through a collaboration between 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, located in the heart of Sydney’s Chinatown, and Guangzhou’s Observation Society, one of China’s most exciting contemporary art project spaces. Bringing together Sydney-based artist Lucas Ihlein and Guangdong-born, Hong Kong-based artist Trevor Yeung, Sea Pearl White Cloud presents new works informed by questions of temporality, exchange and poetics that reflect on the urban condition in the twenty-first century.
This exhibition, presented at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art from 30 July – 24 September 2016, is the second iteration of a two-stage project that saw an exhibition of works by Ihlein and Yeung presented at Observation Society in Guangzhou from 2 June – 24 July 2016. Sea Pearl White Cloud at 4A will unveil the works produced by the artists in Guangzhou alongside new works produced in Sydney that extend the themes and ideas underpinning the artists’ practice and collaboration.
Following fieldwork within the distinctive spatial and social setting of the residential community in which Observation Society is situated in Guangzhou’s district of Haizhu, as well as further afield throughout the Pearl River Delta, this project has arisen from conversations and research undertaken by the artists over nine months. Ihlein and Yeung’s conceptual approaches are informed by quasi-scientific methodologies of tracking and testing various dynamic systems of movement and stasis, control and disorder. Their aims as artists have little to do with producing knowledge in the traditional sense, but rather serve to propose poetic visual and gestural allegories that seek to illuminate everyday occurrences of material and spiritual transformations.
Trevor Yeung’s works are particularly concerned with manipulations of nature – as in his use of UV lighting, dehumidifying units and aquariums – to poetically propose connections between nature, the material world and their emotional import. Complementing this, Lucas Ihlein has extended his ongoing interest in Sydney’s more hidden and neglected natural waterways to that of Guanzghou. Ihlein’s series of screen prints expose a topography of the precarious projections of sea level rise as it might affect Haizhu and the broader Pearl River Delta as the most densely urbanised landscape in the world. This artistic collaboration across themes and context is signaled by the project’s title: Haizhu (海珠) or ‘Sea Pearl,’ signaling a process of materiality – and even beauty – being forged through time; and Baiyun (白雲) or ‘White Cloud’, suggestive of interminable transience, while in a more practical sense being the name of the district in which Guangzhou’s international airport is located and where Trevor Yeung originally sourced live fish and water for his work.
This project is supported by the City of Sydney with Observation Society’s exhibition opening in June being part of the official program of the City of Sydney and Guangzhou Municipality’s civic celebrations marking the 30th anniversary of their sister-city relationship. Having artistic collaboration at its heart – between individuals, organisations and cities – this exhibition builds on the links between cities while forging new modes of dialogue that reflect on our shared local, regional and global experiences.
Complementing the two-stage exhibition project 4A, with the support of the City of Sydney and Art Monthly Australasia, appointed Minerva Inwald as the recipient of the inaugural 4A Emerging Writer’s Project. Selected by a panel comprising Michael Fitzgerald, Editor, Art Monthly Australasia; Luise Guest, Director of Education & Research, White Rabbit Collection; and Pedro de Almeida, 4A Program Manager and Editor of The 4A Papers, Minerva is an integral part of the project team, having undertaken her own fieldwork as Observation Society’s exhibition unfolded in June, and more recently extended to Sydney. Her research will see texts published The 4A Papers and other titles, documenting the development, realisation and reception of the exhibitions along with interviews with the artists.