Lisa Chandler, China Dream / 18 December 2015 - 31 January 2016

Beijing comes to Marlborough - China Dream - from hútòng to highrise

Nelson artist Lisa Chandler, is exhibiting a series of paintings based on her artist residency in Beijing last year.  The title of the exhibition echoes the phrase ‘Chinese Dream’ coined by Chinese President Xi Jinping.  Her large scale paintings explore the impact on communities as traditional alleyways (hútòngs) are replaced by highrise buildings, shopping malls and transit stations.   Lisa Chandler is an abstract painter concerned with the theory of the ‘non-place’.  The ‘non-place’ is a concept that describes generic transitional spaces associated with the process of modernity.  These spaces are considered to be anonymous places that reflect global culture.  

In 2014 Chandler undertook an artist residency at Red Gate in Beijing to study the non-places of this global city.  During her residency however, Chandler found herself drawn to hútòngs, original alleyways that network through the city.  It is here that indigenous culture still exists, albeit in poorer conditions than those of the ‘high-rise’.  Chandler responded to this research by making photograph-based collages, which allowed her to overlay and contrast her experiences in a quick and direct manner.  On her return to Mapua, she began to work these collages into large-scale paintings.  Here Chandler began to meld the images to create surreal and ‘dream-like’ visions. This development is indicated by the title of the series - China Dream - which not only refers to the political context of the residency but also signals the artist’s sense of ‘distance’ and ‘memory’ in relation to that place. 

Anna-Marie White, Curator, The Suter, Nelson