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Nalini Malani The sacred and the profane 1998

 

Curator Robert Cook

 

  sacred and profane

  7 May – 22 August 2016 | FREE

  INTERNATIONAL

  COORDINATING CURATOR ROBERT COOK,

  CONTEMPORARY DESIGN AND INTERNATIONAL ART

 

 

Three large-scale works by renowned international artists

Jitish Kallat

Nalini Malani

Yang Zhichao


This display features three major installations exploring themes of freedom, belief and the political power of the imagination, by three of the world’s most innovative and engaging artists. Each work is a bold, immediately captivating aesthetic statement that also delivers considerable intricacy and nuance.
Conceptually united under the banner Sacred and Profane the installations critically and poetically engage with, challenge and break away from, tradition and established conventions. In different, but equally compelling ways, Kallat, Malani and Yang rethink certainties of history and belief in order to open up new understandings of the past and new possibilities for the future.


Jitish Kallat’s Public Notice 2 2007, recreates Gandhi’s speech of 1930, given before setting off on a march that would end in his deliberate breaking of British law by making salt. Kallat’s translation of the famous speech into the form of a sculptural installation brings Gandhi’s words back to life; more than 86 years later they are present, before us, yet, they are also transformed as the letters appear in the guise of small bones. Each is a skeleton of a letter, a word that once had flesh that moved and lived. Now locked in eternal stillness, it is apparent that it is up to us to bring the letters and words to life.


Nalini Malani’s shadow play installation The sacred and profane 1998 - one of the Gallery’s Collection icons - is composed of four gently rotating cylinders illustrated with lyrical paintings that evoke aspects of Indian myth and belief by combining figures from the Hindu holy book the Bhagavata Purana with those from the “low” art form of Kalighat painting. These are illuminated by lights that project the figures onto the wall, producing new beings that ceaselessly move between spiritual and earthly realms, refusing and resisting fixed positions and dogmatisms of any kind.

Yang Zhichao Chinese Bible 2009  Jitish Kallat Public Notice 2 2007

Yang Zhichao’s Chinese Bible 2009, a work comprised of 3000 found books that were made between 1949 and 1999, the first fifty years of communist rule. The content of the diaries range from comments and personal opinions on fellow political party members, for instance, to engineering notes, to meeting notes, drawings and poems. Through this, we see the work in its entirety as being a respectful yet inquisitive arrangement of personal creativity from which a very different, very private portrait of a nation and a period is given that questions, and fleshes out, the public ones of the history books.
In these ways, the three artists ask us to imaginatively travel between certainty and the unknown, to move from established interpretations of the world deemed sacred and determined, to ideas that disrupt such certainties.

We thank the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Gene and Brian Sherman of Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, for making this display happen through their loan of Jitish Kallat’s Public Notice 2 and Yang Zhichao’s Chinese Bible and their strong commitment to these artists’ practices.

 

Public Notice 2 TV


 

 

GURU GUIDED TOURS | FREE

1-2pm, Mondays in July & August
The sacred & the profane – how art moves us

1.15-1.45pm, Thursdays in July & August

Art Snack (lunch time tour)

 

 

Nalini Malani

The sacred and the profane 1998
Synthetic polymer paint on Mylar, steel, nylon cord, electric motors, lights and hardware
300 x 500 x 1100 cm (overall installation)
State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia
Purchased 2001

Installation view, Art Gallery of Western Australia

Yang Zhichao
Chinese Bible 2009
3000 found books, installation dimensions variable
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Gift of Gene and Brian Sherman 2015
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© Yang Zhichao
Photo: AGNSW, Jenni Carter, courtesy Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Sydney

Jitish Kallat
Public Notice 2 2007
resin, 4,479 letters: installation dimensions variable
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Gift of Gene and Brian Sherman 2015
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© Jitish Kallat
Installation view, Art Gallery of Western Australia

 

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