Contemporary Asian & Pacific Art

Reuben Paterson
Ngati Rangitihi and Ngai Tuhoe born 1973
A Crucifixion 2012
glitter and synthetic polymer paint on canvas
194.9 x 300.0 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, NGV Contemporary 2012
© Reuben Paterson, courtesy Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland

The NGV’s newly opened Contemporary Asian & Pacific Art gallery focusses on art practice that is part of a global art world, yet geographically closer to Australia than Europe or North America.

Asian and Pacific Islander artists, whether working in their home countries, or in settler colonies in a state of diaspora, are exposed to all kinds of visual and technological media. Many artists embrace modern mediums of printmaking, photography, fashion, video and installation. Others incorporate contemporary issues or elements of the modern world into the iconography of customary objects and designs or continue to work proudly as their ancestors have done. Their works demonstrate, as the Samoan poet Albert Wendt states, that ‘no culture is ever static nor can it be preserved like a stuffed gorilla in a museum.’    

This new gallery space includes a number of exciting new acquisitions by artists from Indonesia, China and New Zealand. The video work Farmer by Thai artist Sudsiri Pui-Ock represents the life of a farmer in a rice field from a planar perspective; whilst Rirkrit Tiravanija’s conceptual work Untitled (lunch box) will invite visitors to share a Thai takeaway meal and as a consequence, take part in making art.

NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road