New Energy

Nine early-career artists from across Australia bring New Energy to 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art – itself looking new after moving to renovated premises in Sydney's Haymarket early this year.

Kalanjay Dhir, Jonathan Kim, Audrey Newton, Luce Nguyễn-Hunt, Nathan Nhan, Angie Pai, Nadia Refaei, EJ Son, and Zoe Wong bring new and recent works to 4A, in an expansive show encompassing an array of media and ideas. Key nodes around which the works of these artists orbit are billed to be body politics, intergenerational culture, new materiality, and Asian futurism. New pieces will be presented by Nathan Nhan and Audrey Newton, while EJ Son, Luce Nguyễn-Hunt, and Jonathan Kim present key works in Sydney for the first time. The exhibition’s curator, Con Gerakaris, comments that “New Energy is a dynamic exhibition demonstrating the depth and breadth of our Asian Australian artistic community. This project represents 4A’s longstanding commitment to early career artists by providing a platform for forward thinking and spirited contemporary art practice.”

Nadia Refai’s Sorting Rice, 2019, showcases rituals tenderly performed with the hand; some of the imagery around tables, food, and table settings in this work is echoed in Zoe Wong’s six-channel cyberpunk video satire Oriental Futures, also 2019, which imbues the subject matter with a new tone entirely, tapping into divergent pools of generic influence. Kalanjay Dhir’s video installation, the best thing I can do is redirect energy, 2021, may have a similar future-focussed sensibility. Moving from the speculative to the archival, Luce Nguyễn-Hunt’s work sees the artist excavate the objects and images of their family’s history, while Angie Pai’s mixed-media paintings document paternal relationships. 

Jonathan Kim’s practice “implements observation, discovery, reproduction and spatial relations, which focus on investigating the inner value of Gong-gan-seong,” and the work presented for New Energy presents this aesthetic of Gong-gan-seong (spatiality) for the first time. Other works, such as EJ Son’s illuminated nipple-blossom tree, Titty Tree, 2021, and Audrey Newton’s 4eva, explore tactility, sensuality, and their frequently gendered representations.

A public program accompanies the exhibition, including two artist floor talks: one “away game” session for the interstate artists on 5 June, and the “home ground” session with local artists on 25 June. This exhibition is charged and ready to inject new thinking, imagining, and making into Sydney’s art world. 

New Energy 
4 June – 24 July 2022
4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney

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