Chinese New Year: where ancient meets modern

The Treasures of the Nation performance and Stories of Life exhibition combine traditional and contemporary Chinese culture, transporting audiences to a rich world of wonder and beauty.

The Adelaide Festival Centre will bring in the Chinese New Year with a stunning double-bill of Chinese music and visual art as a part of the 2016 Adelaide Fringe. Treasures of the Nation is a one-night-only musical event that will take place at the Dunstan Playhouse on Thursday, February 18, featuring the award-winning Chinese Music Orchestra. Led by acclaimed conductor Xia Hong, the 43-piece ensemble makes use of both western and eastern instruments including the sheng, an ancient flute, the liquin mandolin, and the gaohu and erhu, sometimes referred to as ‘the Chinese fiddle’, to merge modernity with the ancient. In an Australian premiere, Stories of Life will present a breathtaking showcase of contemporary artworks by some of China’s most fascinating artists. The featured artists will explore the rapidly changing nature of Chinese society in their works, which will be conveyed in mediums ranging from painting and sculpture to video and multimedia. Featured artist Geng Xue is renowned for her unique use of multimedia. Her short film Mr. Sea (2014) will be exhibited at Stories of Life and features handcrafted porcelain figures animated through stop-motion photography, effectively breathing new life into the traditional Chinese medium. The film is loosely based on a ghost story from Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio, a collection of almost 500 supernatural tales written by Pu Songling in Classical Chinese during the early Qing Dynasty. Xue’s interest in multimedia was sparked when she purchased a videocassette recorder during university, and began to film with it constantly. “When I was pursuing my Masters degree in the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design in Germany, I attended courses related to media, and from then on it became a daily routine for me. I filmed a number of short video clips during that period,” Xue tells The Adelaide Review. Xue graduated with a major of pottery from the China Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2007, and is passionate about working with image, sculpture, painting, and the written language. She is intrigued to see how Australian audiences will perceive her artwork from a different cultural standpoint to that of Chinese audiences. “Art, in very much the same way as writing, is about communication with people, so it must have [a] target audience. I hope that different groups can perceive my work through their own interpretive lenses, through which both perceptual and ideological communication can be achieved.” Other featured artists include Fang Lijun, Feng Yichen, Hang Chunhui, He Weijin, Li Yousong, Liu Qi, Pan Wenxun, Qin Xiuping, Xu Hualing, Zhu Zhengming and Liu Qinghe.   Treasures of the Nation Thursday, February 18 Dunstan Playhouse Stories of Life Saturday, February 6 to Sunday, April 3 Artspace Gallery

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