Shadows: Irish Wave 2014 - Beijing, China
07/03/14‘SHADOWS’ is a multi-media collaborative Irish/Chinese exhibition, the first of its kind to be held
at CPPCC Culture and History Museum in XiCheng District, Beijing and part of the IRISH WAVE
2014 series of exhibitions. The Preview will be opened by Minister Brendan Howlin on 18 March.
Before we can draw the light and shadows we need to train our eyes to see like an artist.
Though light and shadow always exist together, each has different connotations both literally and
metaphorically - these meanings vary depending on the historical and cultural context.
The artists in ‘Shadows’ explore the complexities of their own emotions, the society which
surrounds them, investigating hidden areas of ambiguity, intimacy, fear and loss. Some, like
Caroline Schofield, will approach ‘Shadows’ in a playful way drawing the long history of shadow
puppetry and light play while others will explore the hidden aspects of humanity; our philosophical,
psychological and moral environment.
Mary Mackey’s ‘Other Things’ a delicate installation of wax casts conjures up images of childhood
disruption, uncomfortable responses to nurturing and maternity while also referencing shadow
puppetry, an ancient form of storytelling and entertainment. Niamh Cunningham’s paintings
capture the transience of childhood, mapping children’s faces with computer generated shadows.
Sean Campbell’s dense black glassworks appear to embody the notion of ‘shadow’ as a tangible
object in itself while Linying Li’s ‘Brussels in Winter’ portrays the city as an artifice drawn from
Ma Yanling’s evocative painting of Shanghai movie star ‘Ruan Lingyu’ conjures up a lost world,
shadowy and transient, while Fion Gunn’s ‘Urban Dreams# 2’ refers to the ‘shadow’ felt in many
countries today – the shadow of hidden wars and threats of violence. This fear intrudes on the
cultural & financial aspirations held in many developed countries and in turn creates anger and
feelings of rejection amongst those who are excluded.
The curators of ‘Shadows’ are engaging in a cross cultural conversation which does not turn away
from difficult issues and which celebrates the ability of our ‘Shadows’ to heighten and define
space, to heighten and define our ideas, our perceptions and our sense of self.
Ma Yanling is a Chinese artist with an established and wide ranging practice comprising painting,
photographic and performance works which challenge the viewer on many levels will co-curate
this exhibition with Niamh Cunningham a Beijing based Irish artist/curator & Fion Gunn, a London
based Irish artist/curator both of whom also have internationally recognised practices in a wide
range of media.
As Jung said "in spite of its function as a reservoir for human darkness - or perhaps because of
this - the shadow is the seat of creativity."