Chen Qiulin. One Hundred Names.

In June SAM welcomes one of China’s most acclaimed contemporary artists Chen Qiulin.

In June SAM welcomes one of China’s most acclaimed contemporary artists Chen Qiulin and the exhibition One Hundred Names. This exhibition, developed in collaboration with 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney offers a rare survey of over a decade of work by this multidisciplinary artist.

Using a combination of photography, video installation, performance and other media, Chen investigates the contradictions that arise when a country tries both to maintain tradition, and to develop rapidly. Her work examines how migration, displacement, and urban development disrupt traditional Chinese ancestry, culture and way of life. While the unusually rapid development of China highlights these issues, they are not unique to China, and reflect stories and experiences shared by many others in the developing world.

SAM Director, Dr Rebecca Coates says:

“SAM is delighted to present a major exhibition by contemporary Chinese artist Chen Qiulin. Her work explores global themes such as migration, economic growth, the rise of the new middle class. Through her ongoing interest in food and scent, she reflects on the smaller things that remind us of ‘home’. The themes that run through Chen’s work resonate strongly in the Shepparton and Goulburn Valley region, now home to many who have come from other parts of the globe.”

Chen was born in Hubei Province and currently works in Chengdu, an important metropolitan hub in southwest China. She has worked in the same area of China throughout her career, inspired by the socio-political issues affecting everyday life around her.

This 7 week exhibition features a series of early photographic works from the Migration series including The Garden (2007) and Dawning Bell (2009), which see the artist stage theatrical performances against the backdrop of Chen’s home city of Wanzhou, collaborating with local workers as both cast and crew.

Chen will also present, One Hundred Names for Kwong Wah Chong, (2015), a multi-channel video installation commissioned by 4A Centre For Contemporary Asian Art. This work is the latest iteration of Qiulin’s on-going One Hundred Surnames in Tofu (2004 – ) project that presents the one hundred most common Chinese family names carved in tofu. In this version of the work, Qiulin has also produced a series of short documentaries with local residents of Chengdu. These conversations draw on personal experiences of displacement and allow audiences to think about migration more broadly in Shepparton, Australia and in other parts of the world.

As part of her exhibition at SAM, Chen will perform a tofu carving using significant Chinese migrant names from the Shepparton area.

Important dates

Exhibition Dates

4 June to 24 July 2016          

Exhibition Opening

Saturday 4 June 2016, 4 to 6pm

Tofu Carving Performance

Saturday 4 June 2016, from 4pm