‘The Garden of Friendship ’ at Art Beijing 2021, is a compelling exhibition by Irish contemporary artists. Much has happened since Irish artist Maurice Quillinan organized the first ‘Youyi Visual’ event in Hangzhou in 2019.
At this unique moment, ‘The Garden of Friendship’ offers new perspectives on connections and elicits from us our greatest creativity and courage and the intriguing prospect that we can build a safer and more inclusive home.
The collection ranges from literal visual realism to conceptual abstraction with a broad language of convergence. Are the answers for our new world in transition immersed within these diverse contemporary works?
A global journey beckons. Passports and quarantines are not required. It is our ideas and endeavors which will take flight. The exhibition in arranged in two seasons. A busy season full of movement and action. Many of the artworks discover the value of functioning networks, whether in family dining rooms or in geometric grids hinting at the screen divisions on video conference calls.
There are multifaceted ecologies, among them include the allegorical, infinite and shimmering. These can be seen in the quieter more reflective side of the exhibition space . Other ecologies show oceans we know to be fragile violently crash on the shoreline. Cutlery drawers reference our food cultures that are also in transition and demand agriculture be a force for sustainable nourishment.
Vaccines may give us time but only art will ensure our ability to survive as it endorses the realism and dignity that recognizes our planet as a living system. This is not so much an issue of independence nor dependence nor even interdependence but learning that friendships are an important measure of humanity.
Helen G Blake, Abigail O Brien, Tom Climent, Niamh Cunningham, Bernadette Doolan, Pauline Flynn, Maurice Quillinan, Robert Ryan, Una Sealy, Donald Teskey, Samuel Walsh.
Curated by Niamh Cunningham in cooperation with Peking Art Associates Ltd. and Wuyijia (Beijing) Culture and Art Ltd .
Image: Maurice Quillinan
Title: Poem 100: ‘In motion or stillness give yourself completely’ (From the poems of Hanshan)
Medium: Oil on linen
Size: 99.3 x 122 cm