09 October - 10 November 2012
Preview: 4-6pm, Saturday 13 October, 2012
Guan Wei’s artistic practice draws on his own experience as a Chinese national who migrated to Australia from China in 1990—following the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. Guan Wei made many changes in the 1990’s. It became a significant time for him in Australia, where he explored cultural relationships among China and Australia, ideas of immigration, colonisation, identity and cultural tolerance, come together to create a fantasy world illustrating his own personal transition between the two cultures. In 2005, he returned to his homeland, this pilgrimage to his native soil mediated a sense of wellbeing, and finally, a sense of place.
Guan Wei is an adept storyteller who masterfully engages his audience. There is fine and gentle nature to Guan Wei and his artistic practice. The gentleness manifests in his own questioning and enquiry of his creative world. The Enchantment, a series of twelve paintings, and Up in the Clouds, a series of five bronze sculptures, retains the humour, wisdom and cross-cultural exploration that have become characteristic of his oeuvre.
In The Enchantment, the artist as magician plays his hand to the allure and power of art. In this imagined new world, the ‘Big Guy’ is the central figure in the paintings. He features as the modern day alchemist, masterfully playing out and watching over scenes of his enchanted universe. In the words of the artist: the passing of time translates the tension and strangeness experienced at the beginning, into maturity, and finally capability. The alchemist has mastered his universe.
As a continuation of his sell-out Cloud sculptures of 2009, Up in the Clouds features a series of dark bronze sculptures. The cloud, as a symbol of liberty, features prominently throughout his practice. Up in the Clouds portrays gentle figures playfully interacting with their cloud. The harmony between body and form alludes to the transience and freedom of nature.