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The Sleeper Awakes

White Rabbit's new exhibition explores the contradictory complexities of life in present-day China.
By Lucy McNabb
April 16, 2018
By Lucy McNabb
April 16, 2018

If, like us, you've been eagerly (and none too patiently) awaiting the next show at White Rabbit, we've got good news. The Sleeper Awakes is here — and it's quite incredible. Titled in reference to the 1910 science fiction novel by HG Wells — in which the hero awakens from a 203-year-long coma to a dystopian world where a special council use propaganda to keep an enslaved, poverty-stricken populace under their control — the exhibition finds parallels between this fictional universe and 1940s China, when Mao Zedong and his revolutionaries set out to build a new nation. Does current day China look like the "socialist utopia" they envisioned?

Expect to see work from some of China's most original contemporary artists, exploring the contradictory complexities of life in present-day China, where "unprecedented freedom, ambition and optimism coexist uneasily with anxiety, isolation and ubiquitous state surveillance." Highlights include Some Days, a series of large-scale photographs exploring memory by former photo-journalist Wang Ningde; Republic of Jing Bang, an imaginative multimedia installation by Beijing-based artist-to-watch Sun Xun; and Weight of Insomnia, a painting robot that will create an entire landscape painting from a digital feed during the exhibition, dreamt up by Chinese Neo-Realist painter Liu Xiaodong.

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