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Guan Wei: MCA Collection

The Chinese Australian artist's new solo exhibition stars a stunning 18-metre-long painting.
By Libby Curran
October 15, 2019
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Guan Wei: MCA Collection

The Chinese Australian artist's new solo exhibition stars a stunning 18-metre-long painting.
By Libby Curran
October 15, 2019
  shares

Contemporary artist Guan Wei first arrived in Australia after the events of Tiananmen Square in 1989. In the decades since, he's developed a renowned body of work that's both political and humorous, referencing the cultures and history of each country, while exploring ideas of identity.

Now, Wei's throwing back to his artistic beginnings, with a new exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art — the same gallery that hosted his first Australian solo show back in 1999.

Running until February 2020, Guan Wei: MCA Collection dives back through the years to showcase four of the artist's most significant works. The headline act is a sprawling, 18-metre-long painting made up of 120 panels, called Feng Shui. Commissioned in 2004 for Melbourne's Bureau of Meteorology building, it embraces the idea of humans, water, earth and sky existing in harmony. Here, it's connected by new art Wei has painted directly onto the walls of the gallery.

Elsewhere, the free exhibition features Paper War (2014–15) — an animated video complemented by further works created on paper, inspired by symbols of warfare — and a paper-based series reflecting on Chinese governmental bureaucracy, called Certificates 1–4 (1999). And one of Wei's earliest works, Two-finger exercise (1992) takes the form of 48 different pieces, together revisiting the political climate of 1980s China.

Images 1–3: Guan Wei, Feng Shui (2004). All images courtesy and copyright of Guan Wei. Photos by Anna Kucera.

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