TAASA Review issues
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For the eighth Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT8), opening in Brisbane in November, the TAASA Review is featuring two articles. The first is an overview by Tarun Nagesh, Assistant Curator, Asian Art, highlighting some of its key works and themes. Abigail Bernal, Assistant Curator, Contemporary Asian and Pacific Art, provides a more focused article on one particular multi-artist project featuring artists from indigenous or rural based communities in India whose art practices have been ephemeral and generally made for a context other than a museum. An example of their often bold and colourful work can be seen on the front cover of this issue.
Textile traditions are also often intrinsic to the life of indigenous communities. At her Sydney TSG presentation on 9 June and in her article, Margaret White explores the place of indigo dye across many traditional communities in Southeast Asian and West Africa, covering both the symbolism and myth surrounding the use of natural indigo and the complex technical processes involved in the art of preparing the indigo and dyeing yarn.
Sabrina Snow continues our focus on contemporary art with her review of the most recent exhibition, State of Play, at the White Rabbit Gallery, placing it in the context of the Gallery’s previous 12 exhibitions and the philosophy behind the White Rabbit art collection as a whole.
The philosophy behind the National Gallery Singapore, opening in November this year, is discussed by Phoebe Scott, currently a curator at NGS. She points out that, while national galleries throughout Southeast Asia have important collections of their own country’s modern artworks, this Gallery will be significant for offering a permanent regional platform where the art histories of these countries can be viewed side by side, uncovering new relationships and leading to new avenues for exhibition and research.
A different sort of Museum is covered by Leigh Mackay, namely the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, which opened in late 2014. This is the latest showcase for displaying the rich artistic heritage of the Islamic world, following a number of major renovations of Islamic collections over the last 10 years such as at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY and the V&A in London, as well as Qatar’s new Museum of Islamic Art, which opened in Doha in 2008.
Our two other major articles in this issue cover historical topics.
Penny Bailey’s article on Joseon period porcelains from Korea explains why we see a radical shift in artistic taste in the early years of the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910) from the celadons of the previous Goryeo dynasty, in particular favouring the quieter elegance which characterises much of Joseon’s largest ceramic genre of white porcelains (baekja). She walks us through the evolution of these porcelains, from pure white to iron-painted and cobalt-blue decorated wares, and finally the revival of underglazing in copper in the 18th century.
For those that missed her lecture as part of TAASA’s Archaeology in Asia series, Relics and Monuments of Buddhist Kashgar by Marika Vicziany and her colleague Angelo Andrea di Castro of Monash University’s Kashgar Research Project, will be of particular interest. They make a convincing case for placing Kashgar at the centre of Buddhist studies in western China. From the evidence they have accumulated to date, they believe that archaeological work in this area will confirm Kashgar as one of the major and earliest entry points for Buddhist and other religious ideas into China.
Finally, this TAASA Review offers a number of shorter pieces which we hope will be of interest to readers. As so often, we draw on the knowledge of our members - in this case, Boris Kaspiev, Convenor of TAASA Victoria, who writes about two tsakli in his collection - small ritual paintings from Tibet, dating to the 13th – 14th century.
A stimulating book review is provided by Burma expert Charlotte Galloway, who critiques the catalogue of the recent exhibition Buddhist Art of Myanmar held at Asia House, New York in February 2015. Finally, I report on a very enjoyable conversation I had with Dr Stephen Whiteman, Lecturer in Asian Art History at Sydney University, where we discussed his work and his views on the future of Asian art studies in Australia.
As usual, we have a great deal of recent TAASA activities to report and, as we race towards the end of the year, a symposium on Asian jewellery will be held on 19 September in Sydney, as well as a range of activities in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. We can also look forward to relaxing and sociable end-of-year events in all three cities: please see the details in the TAASA Members’ Diary.
Table of contents
3 EDITORIAL - Josefa Green, Editor.
4 THE 8TH ASIA PACIFIC TRIENNIAL OF CONTEMPORARY ART - Tarun Nagesh
7 KALPA VRIKSHA: CONTEMPORARY INDIGENOUS AND VERNACULAR ART OF INDIA AT APT8 - Abigail Bernal
9 UNDERGLAZED JOSEON PORCELAINS: THE CULTIVATION OF A KOREAN NEO-CONFUCIAN AESTHETIC - Penny Bailey
12 INDIGO: THE FASCINATION WITH BLUE - Margaret White
14 RELICS AND MONUMENTS OF BUDDHIST KASHGAR - Marika Vicziany & Angelo Andrea di Castro
18 THE AGA KHAN MUSEUM, TORONTO - Leigh Mackay
20 MODERN ART OF SOUTHEAST ASIA AT THE NATIONAL GALLERY SINGAPORE - Phoebe Scott
22 COLLECTOR’S CHOICE: TWO TIBETAN TSAKLI - Boris Kaspiev
24 STATE OF PLAY AND CONTEMPORARY CHINESE ART AT THE WHITE RABBIT GALLERY, SYDNEY - Sabrina Snow
26 BOOK REVIEW: BUDDHIST ART OF MYANMAR - Charlotte Galloway
27 INTRODUCING DR STEPHEN WHITEMAN, LECTURER IN ASIAN ART HISTORY, SYDNEY UNIVERSITY - Josefa Green
28 RECENT TAASA ACTIVITIES
30 TAASA MEMBERS’ DIARY: SEPTEMBER - NOVEMBER 2015
31 WHAT’S ON: SEPTEMBER - NOVEMBER 2015 - Compiled by Tina Burge