In Evolutionaura Chinese-Australian artist Ah Xian continues his exploration of the human figure. Like the artist himself, the figures occupy an in-between space – between countries and cultures. Xian sought political asylum in Australia in the post-Tiananmen period of the early 1990s, which provides, in Evolutionaura as elsewhere, an enduring conceptual basis informing his practice.
Comprised of eight life-size bronze busts, Ah Xian’s series references the traditional Chinese appreciation of the alchemic qualities of minerals, affixed to the casts in mimicry of a magnetic effect. The use of Lingbi stone hailing from Lingbi County in Anhui Province places the works within the traditions of Chinese philosophy and art, and is commonly referred to as ‘scholar’s stone’. Through the presentation of these minerals, Ah Xian artfully balances reverence with a critique of environmental exploitation.
text from the Adelaide Biennial.
2014 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art
Curated by Nick Mitzevich
01 March – 11 May 2014
Art Gallery of South Austrlia