On February 22 more than 100 people including city council and members of Sydney’s Chinese community attended the opening of ACAF’s project and exhibition spaces ‘Art Terminal T1’ and ‘ACAF Studios’ on Atchison Street in St Leonards, North Sydney. In partnership with the Bridging Hope Charity Foundation and sponsored by TWT, who engages with local council arts programs to contribute to the sustained growth and revitalisation of the area. ACAF opened “Degeneration” as their inaugural show, having originated in OCT Contemporary Art Terminal Shanghai, curated by Shanghai-based artistic director Mariagrazia Costantino. The exhibition showcases a group of China’s leading young new media artists, all born between 1980 and 1987, and signals the first space of its kind to open in this part of Sydney. Alongside ‘Degeneration” ACAF was also proud to present “Lip Service – a solo show of Sydney Photographer John McRae’s work, curated by Jonathan Turner, as well as pieces from the ACAF collection including works by Wu Junyong, Xu Zhongmin, William Yang and Dawn Csutoros.
Following Mariagrazia’s public talk on multi-media art in China, leading Australian arts writer and critic John MacDonald opened the exhibition with an address summarizing some of the major transitions in Chinese contemporary art over the past few decades, stressing the importance for Australia to recognise and acknowledge the significance of issues in China today, using the works presented as a window into that. Hong Kong Phoenix Television media anchor Anthony Yuen also welcomed attendees with a sensitive response to the challenges young artists face today, particularly in a cross cultural context.
“Degeneration”, John McRae and ACAF’s own work filled three separate spaces along Atchison Street, totaling around 500 square meters, allowing attendees to filter through the different areas experiencing work in unique settings. Participating artists in “Degneration” include Chen Wei, Chen Zhou, Cheng Ran, Guan Xiao, Hu Yun, Li Ming, Li Ran, Lu Yang, Ma Qiusha, Ye Linghan. For many of these artists, it is their first time showing work in the southern hemisphere. All three exhibitions will run until May 2013. Over time ACAF plan to develop the spaces into studio-based residencies for local and Chinese artists, in addition to a rota of four exhibitions a year featuring guest curators.
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