Current Media Releases

He An Do You Think That You Can Help Her Brother?

Do You Think That You Can Help Her Brother?, 2008-09, installation view, courtesy Leo Xu Projects, Shanghai.

Presented in partnership with Asia TOPA
11 February – 23 April, 2017

Chinese characters gleaned from shopfronts and various sites throughout the city of Beijing, tell a dark story about love, desire and power in He An’s neon light installation, Do You Think You Can Help Her Brother?, which will be presented on the northern façade of ACCA’s iconic architecture as a keynote public project for Asia TOPA.

Drawn from popular news stories and online social media, Do You Think That You Can Help Her Brother? combines found texts to create a narrative poem that relays the experience of marginalized labour workers, popular Chinese novels, the sex industry and criminal underground networks in Chinese society.

The work is made up of several large and colourful neon Chinese characters. Each has been 'found', and while stylistically unique, together they create a poem that makes visible the risk to women in these male-dominated networks.

“He An has a long interest in language, literature and the urban environment.  One of a number of light works he has made in the last fifteen years, Do You Think That You Can Help Her Brother? is a transgressive and poetic work referencing the shifting changes in style of the neon signage that punctuates Beijing’s cityscape and the impact of social media on relaying stories and shaping behaviour,” says curator Hannah Mathews

‘Inspired by the city lights and tenebrous urban narratives of Beijing, He An’s breathtaking installation creates a form of urban poetry from retrieved heritage signage which is swiftly disappearing from the skyline due to the rapid transformation of Beijing’s urban environment’, says ACCA’s Artistic Director and CEO Max Delany.

Born in 1971 in Wuhan, Hubei, China, He An lives and works in Beijing and is part of an emerging generation of artists born after China’s Cultural Revolution who are making work in the midst of an enormous industrial expansion and urban transformation. His work largely deals with the physical and psychological atmosphere of China’s growing cities, especially the signs, lights and language that populate the built environment. In 2000, He An started incorporating neon light-box characters—gathered from the ubiquitous signage of fast-growing cities like Shenzhen and Wuhan—into his art. His work was featured in the Shanghai Biennale (2006) and is held in the collection of the White Rabbit Gallery, Sydney. He An is represented by Leo Xu Projects (Shanghai), Pace (Beijing) and Galerie Daniel Templon (Paris and Brussels).

Asia TOPA is a landmark festival-style celebration of Asian-focused performance and culture launching in Melbourne in January 2017. Created to celebrate the incredible richness and diversity of Asian performing arts and culture, Asia TOPA is presented by a consortium of Melbourne’s leading arts organisations and community of thought leaders and culture makers from the Asia-Pacific region.

Presented in partnership with Asia TOPA                           
He An: Do You Think That You Can Help Her Brother?   11 February – 23 April, 2017

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art
111 Sturt Street, Southbank VIC 3006, Australia
10am - 5pm Tuesday to Friday; 11-5pm weekends and public holidays, Monday by appointment. 
Tel: 03 9697 9999.  Admission: Free
www.accaonline.org.au

Asia TOPA is a joint initiative of the Sidney Myer Fund and Arts Centre Melbourne and is supported by the Australian and Victorian Governments.
ACCA gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Sidney Myer Fund and Arts Centre Melbourne for this project.

ACCA is supported by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.

Gerard Byrne: A late evening in the future

July, 2016

Gerard Byrne, A thing is a hole in a thing it is not, 2010, film installation. Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery, London

Presented by ACCA in association with Melbourne Festival
Gerard Byrne: A late evening in the future

In Samuel Beckett’s one-act play Krapp’s Last Tape, the curtain rises to the mise-en-scène: ‘a late evening in the future’. For his exhibition of the same name, Irish artist Gerard Byrne employs a similar sense of drama: transforming ACCA into a theatre, and implicating the audience within an intricate, multi-sensory network of lights, flickering TV monitors, video projections and architectural structures.

In the case of Beckett’s character Krapp, the ‘tape’ in the play’s title refers to audio recordings made by the protagonist as a younger man. In this first scene he is revealed listening over them and adding new commentary to reflect on recent years.

Byrne’s exhibition pays homage to this history of recordings, bringing together a dense accumulation of his own video works spanning more than fifteen years.

Throughout his varied practice, Byrne has explored historical ideas, conversations and sites in order to consider their contemporary relevance and to blur distinctions between past and future, myth and reality. The first major survey of the artist’s work in Australia, Gerard Byrne: A late evening in the future builds on this interest in collective history and dramatic reconstruction, employing the device of a playback system to convulsively shuttle and scroll through moments of memory and cultural amnesia.

Byrne’s work is characterised by a laconic humour. His projects examine the ambiguities of language and of what is gained or lost in the translation from text to image. By reconstructing historically charged conversations, interviews and performances, from sources as diverse as La Revolution Surréaliste or Playboy and National Geographic magazines, Byrne tests our perception of the past and the present, and the inherent challenges of the visual record.

Gerard Byrne: A late evening in the future offers audiences the chance to review Byrne’s extensive body of work, which, while conceived independently, resonates together as if made in relation to a specific, but malleable historical referent.

A new commission by Gerard Byrne will also be presented at the same time by Monash University Museum of Art I MUMA. Co-commissioned by MUMA, Mead Gallery, Warwick University, and Moderna Museet, Stockholm this new work - Jielemeguvvie guvvie sjisjnjeli - is the  is the centre of the group exhibition Life inside an Image which considers the museum as an image-capturing technology. The exhibitions runs 1 October – 10 December 2016. See https://www.monash.edu/muma for more information.

Born in Dublin in 1969, Gerard Byrne represented Ireland in the 2007 Venice Biennale, and has had major presentations at international biennials including Gwangju and Sydney in 2008, Lyon in 2007, the Tate Triennial in 2006, and the Istanbul Biennale in 2003. Solo exhibitions of his work have been presented at the ICA Boston and the Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen (both 2008), Dusseldorf Kunstverein, the Charles H. Scott Gallery, Vancouver (2007), the Frankfurter Kunstverein (2003) and at the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2002). In 2006 he was a recipient of the Paul Hamlyn award. He is represented in London by Lisson Gallery and in Stockholm by Galerie Nordenhake.

Gerard Byrne: A late evening in the future
8 October – 27 November 2016

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art
111 Sturt Street, Southbank VIC 3006, Australia
10am - 5pm Tuesday to Friday;
12-5pm weekends and public holidays
Monday by appointment.
Tel: 03 9697 9999.  Admission: Free
www.accaonline.org.au
 
ACCA is supported by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.
 
For further media information:
Katrina Hall 0421153046 or [email protected]