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Article

Gordon Campbell

Unwoven cloth made from the bast (inner bark) of a tree. It is also known as ‘tapa’, with reference to the Polynesian bark cloth made from the bark of the paper mulberry and used for clothing. There is a huge collection of Polynesian bark cloth in the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum in Honolulu. In sub-Saharan Africa bark cloth was traditionally decorated with free-hand painting applied with grass brushes, and was used for room-dividers and screens as well as clothing. Its widest application was in Japan, where bark cloth was used for windows, screens, kites, flags and umbrellas.

L. Terrell and J. Terrell: Patterns of Paradise: The Styles of Bark Cloth around the World (Chicago, 1980)M. J. Pritchard: Siapo: Bark Cloth Art of Samoa...

Article

Chinese-Australian, 20th century, female.

Born 31 January 1924, in Shanghai; died 1 July 2011, in Brisbane.

New Ink Painting.

Painter. Landscapes.

Chou studied economics at St John’s University, and, after graduating in 1945, worked as a newspaper journalist in Shanghai before moving first to Taiwan and then to Hong Kong in ...

Article

Gensler  

Sara Stevens

American architectural firm started by Arthur Gensler Drue Gensler, and Jim Follett in 1965 in San Francisco, CA. M. Arthur Gensler jr (b Brooklyn, New York, 1935) attended Cornell University to study architecture (BArch, 1957). The firm began doing build-outs for retail stores and corporate offices, and initially established itself in the unglamorous area of interior architecture. Thirty years later and without mergers or acquisitions, it had grown to become one of the largest architecture firms in the world, having pioneered the global consultancy firm specializing in coordinated rollouts of multi-site building programmes. By 2012 the firm had over 3000 employees in over 40 offices. From the beginning, Art Gensler conceived of a global firm with multiple offices serving corporate clients whose businesses were becoming more international. Instead of the ‘starchitect’ model of his contemporaries such as I. M. Pei or Paul Rudolph, Gensler wanted an ego-free office that existed to serve client needs, not pursue a designer’s aesthetic agenda at the client’s expense. By adopting new web-based computing technologies and integrated design software in the early 1990s, the firm stayed well connected across their many offices and were more able than their competitors to manage large multi-site projects. Expanding from the services a traditional architecture firm offers, the company pushed into new areas well suited to their information technology and interiors expertise, such as organizational design, project management, and strategic facilities planning....

Article

Alexander Spoehr

Group of sixteen islands, of which six are inhabited, in the western Pacific Ocean, c. 2250 km south of Japan. The islands comprise the US territory of Guam and the self-governing Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, which has close ties with the USA. The islands are usually classified as Micronesian. The indigenous islanders, the Chamorros, were conquered by Spanish settlers in the 17th century, and the population subsequently declined drastically. During the 18th and 19th centuries the islands’ culture developed as an amalgam of Chamorro and Spanish elements, the latter coming mainly from Spain, but also from Mexico and the Philippines. In view of this early European domination, pre-Spanish Chamorro art in perishable materials has long disappeared. Since the earliest European accounts of the Marianas do not mention distinctive secular or religious material culture or art forms, it seems probable that Chamorro artistic expression was primarily channelled into functional design in the production of canoes, tools, pottery and other utilitarian objects. It seems that tattoo was not practised....

Article

Noémie Goldman and Kim Oosterlinck

Term for the return of lost or looted cultural objects to their country of origin, former owners, or their heirs. The loss of the object may happen in a variety of contexts (armed conflicts, war, colonialism, imperialism, or genocide), and the nature of the looted cultural objects may also vary, ranging from artworks, such as paintings and sculptures, to human remains, books, manuscripts, and religious artefacts. An essential part of the process of restitution is the seemingly unavoidable conflict around the transfer of the objects in question from the current to the former owners. Ownership disputes of this nature raise legal, ethical, and diplomatic issues. The heightened tensions in the process arise because the looting of cultural objects challenges, if not breaks down, relationships between peoples, territories, cultures, and heritages.

The history of plundering and art imperialism may be traced back to ancient times. Looting has been documented in many instances from the sack by the Romans of the Etruscan city of Veii in ...

Article

(b Tsing Tao, China, June 21, 1913; d Melbourne, Nov 18, 1992).

Australian architect of German origin. He was brought up in Germany but studied architecture at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, Zurich, under Otto Rudolf Salvisberg. He moved to Australia in 1938 and worked briefly for Stephenson & Turner before setting up in private practice. Romberg introduced analytical European Modernism to Australia with his ‘Newburn’ block of flats (1939–41), South Melbourne, where the flats were angled and staggered to gain views of a park while retaining privacy for each balcony. In his ‘Glenunga’ flats (1940–41), Malvern, Melbourne, he used Swiss Heimatstil elements, including random rubble stonework, a monopitch roof and exposed rafter ends, which paralleled Roy Groundss direct use of materials but was richer in form and texture. This ‘humanized’ Modernism had a significant influence on Australian architects in the late 1940s and 1950s, alongside that of Grounds. Romberg’s most celebrated work is the large ‘Stanhill’ block of flats (...

Article

Jean Robertson and Craig McDaniel

The final decades of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century witnessed an increasing propensity for artists to incorporate aspects of science in their own art. In many fields of scientific research—including the cloning of mammals, the genetic modification of crops, the creation of bioengineered organs and tissues, advances in nanotechnology and robotics, experimental research in how the human mind works and the study of artificial intelligence—the frontiers of knowledge pushed outward at an accelerated pace. In the spirit of creative inquiry, or in order to critique the goals and outcomes of scientific experimentation and application, artists regularly borrowed subjects, tools and approaches from science as a means to the production of art ( see fig. ).

In documenting and assessing the achievements of visual artists engaged with science, there was no broad consensus on the categorisation of artists’ work across the full range of activities, methods, motivations and use of materials. Assessments of artistic practice focused on artists’ work categorised by the traditional fields of science (e.g. artists who explore biology, artists who explore physical sciences). Other analyses of artistic practice focused on categories of art media (e.g. artists who use traditional means such as carving and casting to represent scientific discoveries, artists who explore and employ biological materials and scientific instruments)....

Article

Claire Roberts

(b Beijing, Dec 19, 1957).

Chinese painter and installation artist, active also in Australia. Guan Wei graduated from the Department of Fine Arts at Beijing Capital University in 1986 and worked as a teacher in a secondary school while pursuing his own experimental artistic practice. In 1989 he was invited to Australia as artist-in-residence at the Tasmanian School of Art, Hobart. Following the Tiananmen massacre on 4 June 1989 Guan Wei returned to Australia and undertook further artistic residencies in Tasmania, Sydney (1992–3) and Canberra (1993–4). In 1993 he was granted permanent residence and in 1999 held a solo exhibition at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

Guan Wei is descended from a noble Manchu family. His father was a Peking Opera performer and Guan Wei acknowledges his underlying influence in the gesture and humour that permeates his art. Two Finger Exercise (1989), a series of works on paper with accompanying dialogue, was Guan Wei’s response to the Tiananmen massacre. In these works figures make the ‘V’ for victory sign in a series of tragic–comic riffs on the exuberant hope of student demonstrators. They combine text, wit and a sophisticated social and political commentary, the hallmarks of Guan Wei’s art. After ...

Article

Ah Xian  

Claire Roberts

[Liu Jixian]

(b Beijing, May 7, 1960).

Chinese multimedia artist, active also in Australia. Ah Xian is a self-taught artist. He grew up during the Cultural Revolution (1966–76) and spent his early years in the relatively privileged environment of Beijing’s Science and Engineering University, where his parents worked. He trained as a mechanical fitter and worked in a factory, pursuing art on his own time. In the late 1970s he began to associate with avant-garde poets, writers and artists including members of The Stars, a non-official art group demanding freedom of artistic expression. Because his experimental works of art incorporating naked figures were considered at the time to be spiritually polluting, he was subject to routine surveillance by the Public Security Bureau.

Ah Xian first travelled to Australia in 1989 as a visiting artist at the Tasmanian School of Art. He returned the following year, after the Tiananmen massacre (4 June 1989), and in ...

Article

Chinese-Australian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1956, in Hong Kong.

Painter, performance artist, writer. Multimedia.

John Zerunge Young emigrated from Hong Kong for Australia in 1967 during Hong Kong’s period of unrest and riots. He spent his formal school years in Sydney and went on to study philosophy at the city’s university. His interest in painting, however, remained a constant part of his early childhood, and he furthered his studies in painting and sculpture at the Sydney College of the Arts. It was there that he came into contact with a number of leading visual artists of the time, including the conceptual artist Imants Tillers. Young’s investigation into Western late modernism prompted a period in which his works dealt with themes of his dual nationality and the diasporic Chinese communities in Australia. Young has participated in many regional group travelling exhibitions. In ...