Contemporary Asian Art
Montien Boonma | Thailand 1953–2000 | Lotus sound 1992 | Terracotta, gilded wood | 300 x 350 x 300cm (approx.) | The Kenneth and Yasuko Myer Collection of Contemporary Asian Art. Purchased 1993 with funds from The Myer Foundation and Michael Sidney Myer through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery
Ah Xian | China/Australia b.1960 | Human human - lotus, cloisonné figure 1 2000-01 Hand-beaten copper, finely enamelled in the cloisonné technique | 158 x 55.5 x 32cm | Purchased 2002. The Queensland Government's Queensland Gallery of Modern Art Acquisitions Fund | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery
Lotus sound 1992
Terracotta, gilded wood
300 x 350 x 300cm (approx.)
The Kenneth and Yasuko Myer Collection of Contemporary Asian Art. Purchased 1993 with funds from The Myer Foundation and Michael Sidney Myer through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation
Collection: Queensland Art Gallery
Human human - lotus, cloisonné figure 1 2000-01
Hand-beaten copper, finely enamelled in the cloisonné technique
158 x 55.5 x 32cm
Purchased 2002. The Queensland Government's Queensland Gallery of Modern Art Acquisitions Fund
Collection: Queensland Art Gallery
Yayoi Kusama Japan b.1929 | Soul under the moon (detail) 2002 | Mirrors, ultra violet lights, water, plastic, nylon thread, timber, synthetic polymer paint | The Kenneth and Yasuko Myer Collection of Contemporary Asian Art. Purchased 2002 with funds from Michael Sidney Myer and The Myer Foundation, a project of the Sidney Myer Centenary Celebration 1899-1999, through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation and The Yayoi Kusama Queensland Art Gallery Foundation Appeal | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery
Contemporary Asian Art
Established in the early 1990s, the Gallery’s contemporary Asian collection is one of the most extensive in the world, comprising close to 1000 works from the late 1960s to present. Including painting, sculpture, installation, video, photography and works on paper from East, South-East, South, Central and West Asia, this collection area provides rich opportunities to engage with the art and culture of Asia today. The contemporary Asian collection demonstrates the important contributions that Asian artists make to the development of global contemporary art, often by drawing on local concerns and traditional forms, philosophies and techniques. This is evident in key works that reflect significant moments in the twentieth and twenty-first century Avant-garde, including Xu Bing’s A book from the sky1987–91, Nam June Paik’s Global groove 1973 and TV Cello 2000, as well as works by Yayoi Kusama, Lee Ufan and Ai Weiwei.
Collection strengths include contemporary Chinese art, highlighted in the ‘Three Decades: The Contemporary Chinese Collection’ exhibition, which was part of ‘The China Project’; contemporary Indian art including major works by NS Harsha, Bhupen Khakhar, Bharti Kher, Nalini Malani, Nasreen Mohamedi, Surendran Nair, Pushpamala N, Ravinder Reddy and Vivan Sundaram; and strong collections of Thai and Indonesian art, including works by Dadang Christanto, Montien Boonma, Heri Dono, Mella Jaarsma, Kamin Lertchaiprasert, Eko Nugroho, Chatchai Puipia, Pinaree Sanpitak and Vasan Sitthiket. Contemporary Japanese art is another focus area, with important works by Emiko Kasahara, Yasumasa Morimura, Takashi Murakami, Kohei Nawa, Tsuyoshi Ozawa, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Shigeo Toya and YNG (Yoshitomo Nara and graf).
While Asian cultures are distinct and diverse, many works in the contemporary Asian collection display recurrent iconography due to long histories of cultural and economic exchange and the sharing of religious beliefs. The lotus, for example, is used as a symbol of purity and transformation in Dinh Q Lê’sLotusland 1999, an exploration of the effects of Agent Orange in Vietnam; is central to Montien Boonma’s reflections on the importance of daily Buddhist practice; is at the feet of Ravinder Reddy’s monumental sculpture Woman with lotus flower 1998; and is an ornamental motif in Ah Xian’s Human human – lotus, cloisonné figure 1 2000–01. Richly symbolic floral imagery can also be found in Yayoi Kusama’s exuberant, oversized sculpture Flowers that bloom at midnight 2011, Khadim Ali’s exquisite miniature paintings commenting upon contemporary events in Afghanistan, and in Fang Lijun’s 980810 1998, with its reference to Mao Zedong’s ‘Hundred Flowers Campaign’ of the 1950s.
Other connections are made through media and techniques, such as those found in ink painting and calligraphy. Dialogues can be established, for instance, between the calligraphic strokes of Lee Ufan’s meditations on silence, stillness and space; the broad and often textual brushwork of Irene Chou’s metaphysical landscapes; and the superb brush-and-ink painting in Huang Yongyu’s Lotus with birds1984. The explosive gunpowder drawings of Cai Guo-Qiang and the improvisational ink portraits of Tang Da Wu further demonstrate a broad engagement with the philosophies and aesthetics of calligraphy and ink painting.
A group of sculptures and installations that celebrate the creative flowering of contemporary porcelain form a growing focus in the contemporary Asian collection. The famous kilns of Jingdezhen, which for centuries produced fine porcelain objects and vessels for the Chinese court, is a point of reference, with works such as Ah Xian’s figurative sculptures produced there. The collection also features works that experiment with the versatility of the medium and includes artists from China and its diaspora, Hong Kong, Korea and Vietnam.
Video art is another area of increasing strength in this collection. The use of video in China since the 1990s to document performance art is represented in works by He Yunchang, Qiu Zhijie, Song Dong and Zhang Huan, while major video works by Chen Quilin, Dinh Q Lê, Liu Wei, Nalini Malani, Matthew Ngui, Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba, Donghee Koo, Hiraki Sawa, Yang Fudong and Zhang Peili reflect the strength and innovation of Asian artists in this medium.
The Gallery’s selection of works from West Asia highlights the strong historical links between this region and the Indian subcontinent, primarily through the art of miniature painting. Inspired by the Mughal, Rajput and Pahari miniature traditions of the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries, many of the works within the collection, such as those by Khadim Ali, Ali Kazim, Aisha Khalid, Mohammed Imran Qureshi and Nusra Latif Qureshi, use the miniature style as a formal basis. Key practitioners in other media are also represented. Including The Atlas Group/Walid Raad, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Shadi Ghadirian, Mona Hatoum, Emily Jacir, Almagul Menlibayeva and Bahar Behbahani, Shirin Neshat, Shirana Shahbazi and Sharif Waked.
Mapping over 20 years of focused engagement with contemporary Asian visual practices, the Gallery’s contemporary Asian collection provides important insights into modern historical developments as well as current environments of social change and artistic production within the region. Major exhibitions such as the ‘Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’ and ‘The China Project’ enable the Gallery to regularly commission and collect significant works, ensuring that its holdings of contemporary Asian art remains expansive and dynamic.
The images on this web page are indicative of works that are part of the Collection. Visitors are advised to contact the Gallery in advance of a visit to find out if a particular work is on display. For exhibition information on Collection works on display, please visit Current Collection Displays
Selected Collection Highlights
Huang Yongyu Lotus with birds 1984
Xu Bing A book from the sky 1987-91
Montien Boonma Lotus sound 1992
Simryn Gill Forking tongues 1992
Kamin Lertchaiprasert Problem-Wisdom 1993-95
Zhang Huan 12 square meters 1994
Takashi Murakami And then, and then and then and then and then 1994
Heri Dono Glass vehicles 1995
Nalini Malani Remembering Toba Tek Singh 1998-99
Nam June Paik TV cello 2000
Yayoi Kusama Soul under the moon 2002
Nusra Latif Qureshi Gardens of desire II 2002
Lee Ufan Relatum 2002
Tang Da Wu Bumiputra 2005–06
AI Weiwei Painted vases 2006
Ah Xian Metaphysica: Red Fish 2007
Matthew Ngui Swimming: at least 8 points of view 2007
Xu Zhen ShanghART Supermarket (Australia) 2007–08
Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian Lightning for Neda 2009
Shirana Shahbazi [Stilleben-22-2008] from ‘Flowers, fruits & portraits' series 2008
YNG (Yoshitomo Nara and graf) Y.N.G.M.S. (Y.N.G.'s Mobile Studio) 2009