'A Picture of War is Not War', we read in Hito Steyerl's iconic film November (2004), an essayistic Super 8 film tackling the definition of terrorism constructed around the figure of the artist's best friend Andrea Wolf, who was killed as a terrorist in 1998 in Eastern Anatolia after she joined the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party). Mixing documentary...
There has been a flurry of triennial and biennial art activity in Japan this year. The Aichi Triennale opened in Nagoya this August, sparking a national debate about the shutting down of a display of formerly censored works—the result of public backlash against a burnt image of Emperor Hirohito and a statue commemorating the women forced into...
Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy.Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...
Galerie du Monde is proud to present a solo exhibition of renowned Australian artist, Juan Ford, who solidified his reputation with his hyperrealist paintings that explore the elements of nature, science, metaphysics and trompe-l'œil. Entitled Blank, this is Ford's first solo exhibition in Greater China. As the gallery's GDM Project in 2019, this program is designed to support emerging artists to exhibit their works beyond their locale. At the crux of this exhibition is the premiere of a series of new paintings created specifically for this occasion, which collectively survey Ford's preoccupation with the effect of global population growth on nature and habitats as well as an investigation into the infinite possibilities of contemporary realism.
After many years of finessing realist still-life and portrait genre paintings, much of Ford's works ponder a reconciliation between the natural and the constructed through drawing references from elements in the Australian art canon and landscape. A consistent impetus in his work centers around observation and inquiry into humanity's relationship with its surrounding natural environment. By virtue of his acute dexterity, Ford relies on hyperrealist paintings to transpose the viewers into the scenarios/environments depicted, which are semblances of a post-apocalyptic and dystopic realm. Natural motifs pervade Ford's works, profoundly reinforcing the mystic sentiment that he strives to evoke. Subversive in his artistic ethos and intellectual in his rigor, Ford's paintings on show activate a hallucinatory function, thereby unleashing the uniquely persuasive visual cues to drive his viewers into a disoriented world.
As an extension of his unconventional portrait and landscape paintings, works for this exhibition predominantly employ white as a means to address the imminent issues of humanity's existentialism, as a result of the increasing hegemonic powers of technology. Whiteness conveys an extensive array of connotations, according to the artist, including: "purity, power, mourning, cleanliness, sacrifice, virtue, immortality, death, heat, cold, refined taste, power, control, chastity, tyranny, and many more". The motifs and the language from Ford's new body of works further serve as reflection, evoking not only examination into the potentiality of human encroachment on nature, but also a more conscious initiative of awakening one's perception and awareness.
Taking center stage of this exhibition is "Recollector", where a larger-than-life warrior-like female figure is dressed in post-apocalyptic fashion. Positioned front and center of the painting, Ford alienates this figure in a clean, crisp atmospheric environment void of any site or time-specific references. Undisturbed by the presence of other animating forces, the painting's sole subject seemingly consolidates her strength and authority. Yet, the excessive wrapping of industrial materials around the figure conceals her true form and identity, thereby suggesting an underlying anxiety between the external reality and the internal domain. The protrusion of a serpent and branches, the crawling of an insect on the female figure reinforce the notion that nature can, to a certain extent, be hazardous once humanity interrupts its ecosystem. The stripes of colors revealed underneath the domineering white layers symbolize the remnants of humanity, ultimately a reminder of our imminent fate as well as the prevailing power of nature. "Recollector" bequeaths its towering figure with a juxtaposition of fatal species from nature with destructive manmade materials, consequently situating us within a dystopian world that examines the tensions between nature and humans.
"The exceptional and meticulous execution of Juan's works has truly redefined our understanding of Australian art as well as reinvigorated our perception of contemporary paintings. However Juan's ability to invite the viewers to meander through reality and dream remains as the cornerstone of his art practice. We are delighted to host Juan's first solo exhibition in Greater China and present his works during the most dynamic art festival month in the region."
Fred Scholle, Founder and Chairman of Galerie du Monde
Juan Ford (b. 1973, Melbourne, Australia), an interdisciplinary Australian artist who is highly regarded for his hyperrealist paintings, received his Master of Arts (Fine Art) from RMIT in 2001. As one of the most celebrated contemporary Australian artists, Juan has received prestigious international awards and residencies across Australia, Italy and the United States. His many commissions include the National Gallery of Victoria's Melbourne Now (2013/2014); Manifesta 9 European Biennale (2012); Premier John Brumby for Parliament of Victoria Parliament House; Melbourne Jewish Museum; Monash University; The University of Sydney; and Trinity College Melbourne.
Parallel to the numerous awards and commissions the artist has received throughout his career, Juan also has an extensive exhibition history worldwide. His notable solo exhibitions within the decade include: Blank, Galerie du Monde, Hong Kong (2019); Personal Structures, Palazzo Bembo, Venice (2016); Lord of the Canopy, McClelland Sculpture Park + Gallery, Melbourne (2014); When We take Flight, Bank of Melbourne in conjunction with National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2014); Lord of the Canopy, Mildura Arts Centre, Mildura (2013); Juan Ford: Works from 2001 - 2006, 24HR Art - Northern Territory Contemporary Art Centre, Darwin (2009). Juan has also taken part in many prestigious group exhibitions, such as New Histories (curated by Jess Brigfoot), Bendigo Art Gallery (2018); Analogue Art in a Digital World, RMIT Gallery Melbourne (2018); 21st Century Hyperrealism, Daejeon Museum of Art (2015); 5th Nakanojo Biennale, Gunma Prefecture (2015); In the Flesh, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra (2014); and Hotel de Immigrantes (curated by Tomasz Wendland), parallel program to Manifesta 9, Hasselt (2012).
A selection of institutions that collect Juan Ford's works include: Artbank; The Macquarie Bank; Campbelltown Art Gallery, Campbelltown; City of Whyalla; Fidelity International, Sydney; Geelong Art Gallery, Geelong; Gold Coast City Art Gallery, Gold Coast; La Trobe University, Melbourne; Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne; RMIT, Melbourne; RMIT Union Arts, Melbourne; Trinity College, University of Melbourne, Melbourne; TXU Australia, Sydney; Victorian Energy Ombudsman, Melbourne; Westin Hotel, Sydney, as well as other private collections in Australia and abroad.
At Galerie du Monde, Hong Kong, the centrepiece of Juan Ford's recent solo exhibition Blank (15 March–20 April 2019) was Recollector (2018), a hyper-realistic portrait of a solo female figure standing against a clear blue sky, the painting cropped at her knee. She is costumed in white drapery, although fragments of red, blue, and yellow under her...
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