Review

Conversations within but not between

  • Reading time • 4 minutes
  • More like this

Review: Charlotte Hickson and Ashley Yihsin Chang, ‘Unfolding Acts: New Art from Taipei and Perth’ ·
PICA ·
Review by Jess Boyce ·

“Unfolding Acts: New Art from Taipei and Perth” marks the 20th anniversary of the Charter of Mutual Friendship between the two cities; a friendship that is evident in the string of exhibitions, residencies and other programs involving these communities that have been held at PICA and other galleries and organisations in the sister cities over the last two decades.

Bringing together both Western Australian and Taiwanese artists, “Unfolding Acts” is curated by Charlotte Hickson and Ashley Yihsin Chang. The show presents stories from both metropolitan and regional areas and represents voices of artists, First Nations people, workers and everyday folk.

Created by the York Noongar community members and Community Arts Network, Welcome to Balardong is a collaborative series of animations that share stories of life in York. Whilst the childhood memories are reflected upon fondly, and the clay animations playful, undertones of systematic racism and colonial structures are hard to ignore.

Dondon Hounwn’s story explores a shifting dynamic between traditional and modern practices. Photo: Bo Wong.

Such storytelling is at the heart of many of the works in “Unfolding Acts”, including Yu-Cheng Chou’s A Working History: LU Chien-Te for which the life-story of a Taiwanese contingent worker nearing retirement was published and recorded, and Chia-En Jao’s video Taxi which documents conversations between the artist and Taipei Taxi drivers to piece together a story of Taiwan’s history and current political climate. Dondon Hounwn’s story looks inward instead; three videos displayed concurrently each show the Truku artist in some way being pushed and pulled by other performers, a shifting dynamic between traditional and modern practices.

Whilst all other works in the exhibition present stories from the artist’s home city, rather than a response to the sister city, Taiwanese artist Yi-Chun Lo’s Protective Layers responds to the impact of agriculture and feral animals on Western Australia’s natural landscape and wildlife. Created during a residency in Western Australia, Lo engaged with Noongar elders and utilised native trees and grasses as well as introduced grains to construct hides of a kangaroo and a fox, laid on the floor like ornamental rugs.

Also engaging with natural landscape, Whadjuk Noongar artist Sharyn Egan’s One mob features animals made out of yonga goona (kangaroo droppings) and balga resin, and Pilar Mata Dupont’s series of photographs, Multispecies, depicts invasive species of flora introduced to Jirndawurrunha, the lands of the Yindjibarndi people in northern Western Australia.

Pilar Mata Dupont’s ‘Multispecies’ depicts invasive species of flora introduced to Jirndawurrunha. Photo: Bo Wong.

Whilst pvi collective’s public residency and series of interventions tiny revolutions successfully reflects “Unfolding Acts’” aim to “examine the social, cultural and economic fabric” of Perth, presented separate to the exhibition in an upstairs room, it felt disconnected from the discourse in the main space. This separation is created by its physical distance from the other works and heightened because, unlike the resolved outcomes presented downstairs, it is a participatory project in progress, marketed individually without mention of “Unfolding Acts”.

Artworks in “Unfolding Acts” present a deep and thoughtful glimpse into the individuals and communities who make up the fabric of Perth and Taipei, yet for an exhibition filled with storytelling, the conversation between works and the two cities is lacking.

“Unfolding Acts: New Art from Taipei and Perth” runs until December 22.

Pictured top: ‘Welcome to Balardong’ by York Noongar community members with Community Arts Network. Photo: Bo Wong.

Like
0
Love
0
Ah Ah
0
Wow
0
Sad
0
Grrr
0
Rosalind Appleby

Author —
Rosalind Appleby

Rosalind Appleby is a Perth-based arts journalist, author and speaker. She writes for The Australian newspaper, The Guardian and Opera magazine (London). She was music critic for The West Australian for 14 years (2002-2016). From 2012-2018 she operated the blog Noted, providing insights into the Perth arts scene.

Past Articles

  • The other Mendlessohn

    Mendelssohn’s moving Oratorium nach Bildern der Bibel will receive its Australian premiere in Perth this weekend. But it isn’t by the composer you are probably expecting.

    Like
    0
    Love
    0
    Ah Ah
    0
    Wow
    0
    Sad
    0
    Grrr
    0
  • Dance: Chorus

    29 Feb & 1 Mar @ Silverstream Wines, Denmark ·Presented by Annette Carmichael Projects · Dance that unites against violence.A powerful ensemble of women from Denmark,…

    Like
    0
    Love
    0
    Ah Ah
    0
    Wow
    0
    Sad
    0
    Grrr
    0

Read Next

  • Photo: Bo Wong Tiny illuminated coffins containing elements of Martu culture
    Review

    An intimate glimpse into Martu culture

    Review: Curtis Taylor, ‘Untitled (Uura)’ · Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts · Review by Jess Boyce · Though Curtis Taylor is recognised as one of Australia’s…

    Like
    0
    Love
    0
    Ah Ah
    0
    Wow
    0
    Sad
    0
    Grrr
    0
    Reading time • 3 minutesVisual Art
  • Asher Fisch conducts the West Australian Symphony Orchestra
    Review

    Fisch comes full circle

    Review: West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Verdi’s Requiem ⋅
    Perth Concert Hall, 29 November ⋅
    Review by Rosalind Appleby ⋅

    Like
    0
    Love
    0
    Ah Ah
    0
    Wow
    0
    Sad
    0
    Grrr
    0
    Reading time • 3 minutesMusic
  • Review

    Where the sound of movies began

    Mark Naglazas talks to Benjamin Northey about the West Australian Symphony Orchestra’s new venture into the Golden Age of movies. In recent years the Western Australian…

    Like
    0
    Love
    0
    Ah Ah
    0
    Wow
    0
    Sad
    0
    Grrr
    0
    Reading time • 5 minutes

What’s in a name?

Join the conversation

Meet the Seesaw team