Review :: Down the Rabbit Hole

March 19th 2012

Cai Lijuan, Linear Space Series, 2011, No 3 of five pieces 125 x 125 cm, mixed media

There are a few differences between me and Alice from Wonderland. The main being where she fell down the rabbit hole, I casually walked into it – the rabbit hole now being White Rabbit Gallery’s newest exhibit ‘Down the Rabbit Hole‘.

Every six months the gallery, dedicated to contemporary Chinese art, changes its entire collection and rest assured I am there on opening day every time. I’ll stop rabbitting on now and hop to the actual art.

This time around the collection focuses on more recently created art works. On level one artistic skill slaps you in the face – jump from a collection of steel tools shaped like wooden tools (trust me it looks so much better than it sounds), to the amazing Chen Chun-Hao’s Imitating Fan Kuan’s ‘Travellers Among Mountains and Streams’ from the Song Dynasty where 750, 000 nail heads are arranged in the shape of the famous Asian landscape work by Fan Kuan. All the nails were placed by hand, taking Chun-Hao 3 months to complete.

Upstairs is the most hauntingly beautiful and technologically amazing sculpture by Wu Daxin, called Ashley’s Heart – a bronze replica of a human heart that stands higher than 6 foot has been literally frozen thanks to the purring generator in the corner. It’s as cold-hearted as you can get and yet the stillness and chills you get standing next to this work make you think of fragility rather than anything sinister.

White Rabbit is in full stride right now – the lay-out of this collection is seamless. Despite dealing with such a huge space, each room is cocooned so well that the segregated light installation rooms could feel like a completely separate gallery as the moods shift suddenly.

Perhaps this isn’t the best collection I’ve ever seen from White Rabbit. Maybe my expectations were too high, but the thing about Alice in her Wonderland is that even when things seemed bad they were still so much better than the reality she had left behind. At a point in the next six months take the tumble and step off the streets of Chippendale and into the fantasy of White Rabbit’s four levels.

This has been Celia Mortlock for FBi.

What: Exhibition – Down the Rabbit Hole

Where: White Rabbit Gallery, 30 Balfour Street Chippendale NSW

When: Now until approx September

How much? Free


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