Reverberating with the shadows of the dispossessed within China’s urban metamorphosis, White Rabbit Gallery presents A Blueprint for Ruins as its latest exhibition.
Beneath the glossy surface of progress lurks a simmering undercurrent of violence. Cities tear themselves apart to make way for towering skyscrapers and gleaming high-rises. However, in this bright new world, one question arises: where have all the people gone?
Streets devoid of life and vacant apartment blocks stand as haunting reminders of an abandoned dream. Like solemn tombs from a long-lost civilisation, these forgotten monuments silently bear witness to the cost of rapid urbanisation, where each new creation necessitates the destruction of another.
As China’s cities race to embrace modernity in a never-ending dance of renewal, buildings are designed to be demolished even before their completion. The casualties of development are left to drift through the ruins of their ruptured world.
Displaced individuals and their stories echo through abandoned spaces, once home to ancestral sites and legacies of long family lineages. Amidst the rubble, however, stand ‘nail houses’, occupying land of immense value.
Weaving another layer into China’s complex landscape, they are a testament to both impermanence and resistance against rapacious developers and government-sanctioned mass clearances.
Curated by David Williams, the artworks in A Blueprint for Ruins guide us toward the remnants of memories woven into the very fabric of each structure, even as the walls crumble.
As the artist Hu Weiyi poignantly writes: “It’s as if every abandoned building, about to disappear, is attempting to sing its last note, and eventually they will come together to form a requiem for an era.”
The White Rabbit Gallery was established in 2009 to share Judith Neilson’s private collection of 21st-century Chinese art with the public. A Blueprint For Ruins will be the 28th exhibition in the Gallery.
A Blueprint for Ruins
White Rabbit Gallery, 30 Balfour Street, Chippendale (Sydney)
Exhibition continues to 12 May 2024
For more information, visit: www.whiterabbitcollection.org for details.
Image: Chen Wei, Drunken Dance Hall, 2015, wood, steel, glass, paint, broken glass, electric lights, acrylic, mirrors and sound – photo courtesy of the artist and White Rabbit Collection