Art in the First Decade is conceptual, philosophical and very conscious of its reception. Two prominent artists featured in the ‘ 21st Century: Art in the First Decade’ at the Gallery of Modern Art are Nathalie Djurberg and Ah Xian. (GoMA, 2011) Djurberg is a Swedish artist who lives and works in Berlin, explores themes of fantasy, dreams and sexuality through stop motion animation. Xian is a Chinese artist living in Australia who combines traditional Chinese materials and techniques with a contemporary sculptural practice to address issues surrounding cultural displacement, identity politics and the relationship between East and West. Djurberg’s work; Putting down the prey, and Xian’s body of work, Metaphysica. (GoMA, 2011) Although
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These technological influences relate greatly to his environmental or geographical influences, as Chinese culture and custom is very much embedded in the techniques that he employs. The designs are quite obviously inspired from Chinese landscape, as well as traditional Chinese subject matter. The objects on the busts heads represent various symbols of luck in Chinese lore. Traditional Chinese designs and motifs including dragons, lily pads, trees, flowers and craggy mountains ‘which snake around necks cover mouths and eyes and glide over foreheads’. (The Australian, 2009) The works pose questions about nature and landscape in the world’s industrial powerhouse. In ‘Human human - lotus, cloisonné figure 1’ the figure is depicted with lotuses and reeds, portraying the person as a garden or landscape. This depiction suggests a connection between humanity and nature. The use of a lotus as the Chinese symbol for continuity and life also creates a link between the traditional and cultural in the context of contemporary art.
His political influences include ideas of individual and cultural identity. His work carries definite political overtones about China’s attitude to free (especially artistic) speech. (Edwards, 2008) Depicted with closed eyes and mouths, Ah Xian's sculptures point to China's lack of