White Rabbit: Embodying the Old and New in an Artistic Wonderland of Free Expression

Emily Thompson

Abstract


White Rabbit gallery is a site dedicated to the exhibition of contemporary Chinese art post-2000, realised through the notions of modernity and postmodernism. Consisting of a body of Chinese artists spanning a vast array of backgrounds, the gallery effectively represents China’s art in its highest form, with works carefully selected for their originality and artistic professionalism by the gallery’s private owner Judith Nielson. These works instil a sense of awe in their viewers, whilst also expressing ideas on a deeper subversive level. White Rabbit gallery employs a profound general visitor discourse; extending an emphasis of attention on the visitor and ensuring their experience is one which aligns with ideals of modernity such as progress and renewal as represented through the gallery’s purchased level of work and incorporated capitalist structures including a gallery shop and teahouse. Exclusively housing contemporary Chinese art in a postmodern renovated knitting factory, the gallery further represents progress and hope for a world recovering from a global financial crisis in the utilisation of a site built in the wake of this crisis. Through the role of the gallery’s physical structure, its exclusive Chinese art content, and its experiential visitor discourse, notions regarding Marxist ideas on commodity fetishism and other theoretical perspectives on postmodern and modern spaces are revealed; the construct of the site further embodying Lyotard’s notion of the ‘nascent’ state from modernity to postmodernism. This article interrogates the modern and postmodern notions embodied by White Rabbit gallery in order for an understanding relevant to the present moment in which we live, as part of this modern and postmodern context, to be fully realised.


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