One of the more cultured ways to spend a few hours in Sydney is to follow the White Rabbit, or more accurately pay him a visit.
Located near the award winning One Central Park Tower, the White Rabbit is a gallery showcasing 21st Century Chinese Contemporary Art. The collection, one of the largest in the world, is owned by Judith Neilson. It as refreshing to learn that she does not just rock up to auction houses like Christie’s or Sotheby’s to add to her collection of over 1000 items. Instead she spends weeks every year scouring back streets in China looking for items, that are in her words, evoke the sense of “now,now,now”!
The White Rabbit Gallery is one of only a handful of privately-funded public museums that are sparsely scattered around Australia and one of it’s fans is the man behind another – David Walsh, owner of the MONA Gallery in Hobart*
The building which houses the collection is quirky also. Converted from a warehouse and Rolls Royce service depot that fits it quite nice with all the lockup garages and other warehouses on these small streets. If it wasn’t for the homemade signs off the main road you would never find your way there!
So onto the collection:
1000 Items by 400 Chinese / Taiwanese Artists including some of my favourites that I will highlight here.
First up is a work by the famous artist Ai Weiwei and his Sunflower Seeds (2010). Each one is uniquely handcrafted and painted by artisans in China and is a pre-cursor to his much larger exhibition that was in the London Tate Museum recently.
Next up was a life-sized (brick for brick) reconstruction of farm buildings that villagers had made from looted parts of the Great Wall of China by artist Wang Cheng. Entitled the ‘Great Wall Plan’ it showcases the Communist Governments role in the destruction of China’s architectural heritage by urging villagers to desecrate the Great Wall but in the end he argues that all these ‘little walls’ preserve the memory of the past ‘Great Wall’
Another highlight was the recreation of a traditional chinese homestead… entirely knitted together with thread by artist Gao Rong, entitled The Static Eternity. This was a great piece of work and the fact that she was only 26 when she created it speaks volumes!
Here is some more pictures of some other amazing exhibits.
There was a lovely tea house on the ground floor with dozens of empty birdcages hanging from the roof – conjuring up images of the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden in Mongkok, Hong Kong – sans l’oiseau!
It is definitely worth a visit and since it is free there is all the more reason to!
So go ahead, follow the White Rabbit!
* We visited here in January 2015 – watch this space for a write-up!