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Jun 5, 2013  ·  2 min read

Why do all good things involve the term ‘smashed’? Apple Smash cocktails, Gin Basil Smash, getting smashed, smashed crab…okay maybe not that last one. But there is one more and that is the Smash Palace exhibition at the White Rabbit Gallery in Chippendale.


The Smash Palace exhibition is an exercise in taking in the finer details – what may look like an abstract floral pattern, for example, turns out to be 70kg of oil paint, squeezed onto the canvas with kitchen icing bags – a mess of beautifully and chaotically whorled colours.


Smash Palace, which runs until August 4, surveys the reactions of China’s best contemporary artists to the shocks of the new century. Some question the solidity of the status quo; others look beneath the surface and find monsters lurking. Some find reality so absurd that fantasy or mockery seems the only proper response; still others reach for anchors in the same Olds that the Maoists were so determined to erase.


The collection sees artists Cheng Dapeng and Zhou Jie create surreal cities using, respectively, cutting-edge 3D printing and traditional ceramics. The huge weather balloon of Zhou Xiaohu’s Even in Fear swells like the pressure of modern life, then collapses, only to swell again. In a space the size of a cupboard, Jin Shi replicates in cheap and grimy detail the home of a poor urban migrant. Yang Yongliang uses computer graphics to “paint” the ugly landscapes of boomtown Shanghai in the spirit of the old masters. Tzeng Yong-Ning sees his furious scribbles of red gel pen as a link between traditional calligraphy and contemporary chaos, while Zhang Tingqun’s intricate network of lines was inspired by cracked china bowls.


Smash Palace will show at White Rabbit Gallery until August 4.


White Rabbit Gallery is located at 30 Balfour Street, Chippendale Sydney.

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