Artist Profile X Guo Jian

Best known for his satirical, erotic paintings and installations rich in cultural narrative, Chinese-Australian artist Guo Jian is a leading figure in contemporary Australian art. A political activist, Guo Jian draws from his extraordinary life as a former soldier and an exile to confront audiences with what he perceives to be China’s politically-driven cultural genocide.

‘In the wee hours of 1 June 2014, the Chinese police banged on the door of Guo Jian’s studio in the Beijing suburbs. The Australian-Chinese artist wasn’t surprised to see them. It wasn’t their first visit. The Financial Times of London had just published an interview that included a photograph of his latest artwork, The Meat (2014), which commemorated the events of 3–4 June 1989, when the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) turned its guns on supporters of the pro-democracy student movement. Guo Jian had been one of those students.’ – Linda Jaivin in Artist Profile Issue 48

This year was the thirtieth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. For Sydney Contemporary at Carriageworks, Artist Profile invited Guo Jian to recreate The Meat – a large replica of Tiananmen Square enveloped in raw mince. However, health and safety rules prevented the installation from being staged the way the artist wanted it, complete with the stench of rotting meat and infestations of vermin. Instead, for our inaugural Artist Project at Sydney Contemporary, Artist Profile magazine will be presenting a new series of paintings by Guo Jian in ‘Living the Dream’, curated by Lauren Harvey and Campbell Robertson-Swann. These paintings engage with traditional Song dynasty landscapes to interrogate the relationship between the disposability of celebrity and the destruction of minority cultures in China. 

Guo Jian: Living the Dream
12 – 15 September 2019
Sydney Contemporary, Carriageworks, Artist Profile Booth G01


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