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Museum Musings: Sullivan + Strumpf (Singapore) Presents Tony Clark’s Design for a Chinoiserie Landscape

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Design for a Chinoiserie Landscape (detail), 2018, acrylic on canvas board, 40 x 40 cm.

This December, Sullivan+Strumpf Singapore is set to showcase Canberra-born artist Tony Clark with his brand new exhibition Design for a Chinoiserie Landscape, an extension of a continuous project begun over thirty years ago exploring the space between the decorative arts, fine art and design.

With a four-decade long career, Clark has exhibited extensively since his beginnings in Melbourne’s experimental art and music scene, with his work now included in numerous public collections across Australia and having exhibited at both Art Stage Singapore 2017 and Art Basel Hong Kong 2017. For Clark, who now lives between Australia and Europe, the concept of Chinoiserie, a popular decorative style in nineteenth-century Western art characterized by the use of Chinese motifs and techniques, continues to fascinate him. In Design for a Chinoiserie Landscape, he takes this concept as a means of representing the multifaceted socio-cultural identity of the Asia-Pacific region, combining both chinoiserie and classical motifs to bring out their use as designs for the interior decoration of a notional building, Villa Sino-Romana, underlying the entire series.

Fundamental to Clark’s practice is the notion of a painting alluding to something other than itself, away from the idea of ‘pure’ painting to explore fine art beyond the decorative, and even creating his own unique form of ‘punk classicism’. Breaking down these distinctions, Clark’s Design for a Chinoiserie Landscape then asks where the line is drawn; both between art and design, and by extension, the broader sense between co-existing socio-cultural identities.

Photo Credit: Gary Ramage, for The Australian

Design for a Chinoiserie Landscape runs at Sullivan+Strumpf from 1st to 23rd December 2018. Admission is free. For more information, visit their website here

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