News & events > Australia | Conversations through the Asian Collections
25 Oct 2014 - 05 Oct 2015

Australia | Conversations through the Asian Collections



The Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia is running a series of dynamic conversations between renowned contemporary artists and the Asian collections. The Conversations through the Asian Collections series concludes on 4 October 2015. Asian art of the past and present has a proud place in the Art Gallery of NSW collection. In a major refresh of our Asian galleries, this exhibition brings old and new together in a series of dynamic conversations. Leading off those conversations are 24 renowned contemporary artists, among them Anish Kapoor, Ai Weiwei, Suda Yoshihiro, Shahzia Sikander and Ah Xian. Far from seeing the art of the past as something remote or untouchable, these artists treat it as a deep resource and constant spur to the imagination. Conversations through the Asian collections is a unique chance to see their contemporary works beside the historical art that informs and inspires them. It is also a chance to look afresh – through artists’ eyes – at the riches of the historical collection, from ancient Chinese jade carvings and Indian miniatures to elegant Japanese screens. Make your way through both floors of the exhibition and you’ll find conversations of many kinds. Some are poetic and contemplative. Some are playful and provocative. And some involve a contemporary artwork that may at first be hard to spot. But all attest to one thing above all – a live connection between the past and the present. In other recent and current 2015 exhibitions at the Art Gallery of NSW:
  •  Go East  (14 May - 26 July) presented a rare opportunity to view significant contemporary Asian artworks from the private collection of Australian philanthropists Gene and Brian Sherman.This collection of provocative and compelling works weaves a rich tapestry of different histories, speaking to one another of co-existing, often-times colliding worlds. The works reflect the Shermans’ long-standing fascination with art built around text and textiles, and their commitment to works that address issues of social justice. Featuring artists from China, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Tibet, and Vietnam, many of the artworks in Go East have never before been seen in Australia. See works by Ai Weiwei, Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan, He Yunchang, Bharti Kher, Shigeyuki Kihara, Dinh Q Lê, Lin Tianmiao, Daidō Moriyama, Nortse, Eko Nugroho, Navin Rawanchaikul, Shen Shaomin, Song Dong, Charwei Tsai, Yang Fudong, Yin Xiuzhen and Zhang Huan.


Read about the Ai Weiwei twitter archive which was exhibited as part of Go East

jitish kallat

  • Jitish Kallat: Public notice 2 2007 (till 5 October):  On 12 March 1930, Mahatma Gandhi gave a speech that marked the beginning of his ‘salt march’ in which he walked 390 kilometres to the coastal town of Dandi in the Indian state of Gujarat. There he gathered salt, refusing to pay the tax imposed by the colonial British Government and therefore breaking the law. This simple and now famous act inspired nationwide civil disobedience and is seen as the beginning of an intensified Indian independence movement. Gandhi’s legacy of non-violent protest continues to influence political action worldwide. In Public notice 2 2007, Indian artist Jitish Kallat renders Gandhi’s historic speech in its entirety, letter by letter. Each letter appears to be made from bone, as though Kallat has exhumed these words from their historical resting place. As Kallat says: ‘In today’s terror-infected world, where wars against terror are fought at prime television time, voices such as Gandhi’s stare back at us like discarded relics.’ This work by Jitish Kallat was part of Go East: The Gene & Brian Sherman Contemporary Asian Art Collection, presented in partnership with the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Sydney.
Images:  [top] Left: Rodney Glick, Made Leno, Wayan Darmadi, Dewa Tirtayasa, Christopher Hill Everyone no 83 2009, Indonesia. Right: Lotus-clad Radha and Krishna c1700–10, India. [middle] ai weiwei archives 6,830 rice paper sheets full of printed tweets, ‘an archive’, 2015, huali wood, xuan paper / edition of 2 + 1 ap / 100 x 100 x 114 cm' collection of gene & brian sherman, sydney / photos by jenni carter, AGNSW [bottom] Jitish Kallat Public notice 2 2007 (detail), The Gene & Brian Sherman Collection, and Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Sydney © the artist

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