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Exhibition and Performance: Jingwei Bu

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by Jo Harris (subscribe)
I love the things we have here in South Australia – the fabulous food, wine, people and places – beauty everywhere. And, for more beauty in my life, I own and operate a gorgeous little gallery called Mrs Harris’ Shop: www.mrsharrisshop.com.au
Published January 4th 2020
Everything is precious - even rubbish
Almost two years ago, WeekendNotes readers were delighted by an exhibition by emerging Adelaide artist, Jingwei Bu, at Hughes Gallery, Fullarton. Eclecticism was a very personal expression, exploring Jingwei's life via her art, with glimpses into her world through photography, drawing and painting.

This time, she looks more at 'things', and through them, her intention is to focus attention on their inherent beauty: colours, shapes and textures.

Material Habitants is part performance, part play, part poetry. In the main, it is sculptural works that form the basis of the exhibition, with performance enhancing the pieces via another dimension.

Stage I of the exhibition features many discarded 'things': broken appliances, tools, waste and found items, incorporated into the works as relief plaster casts, and sitting on plinths of paper in an imagined world of the future, when human beings have gone. She uses them to draw attention to the fragile nature of our existence.

Jingwei Bu
Calligraphy finds its way into the performance


During its course, Jingwei will add, re-organise and subtract items in the display. You too, can join her in arranging the objects, so don't be shy!

My favourite part of the exhibition is the population of myriad marionettes, each dressed in a discarded single use plastic bag. The figures are playful, thoughtful, whimsical.

Jingwei Bu
Plastic bag clad marionettes watch as Jingwei performs


Her use of such a common throwaway item helps to draws attention to our unsustainable human appetite for consumer goods, including the accelerated cycle and devastating effects of today's fast fashion.

At the same time, she is appreciating the unique material properties of the bags – their translucence, malleability and texture.

She says: 'We are part of a fragile ecosystem. My art is a way of acknowledging this preciousness of the planet and finding beauty in the everyday. By drawing attention to what is literally in front of us, I hope to inspire visitors to be mindful, appreciative and playful.'

'They are also like seeing our society in miniature. We can look at ourselves from a distance, watching as we go about the busyness of life, relationships with the community and forming our different stories.'

Jingwei Bu
Arranging the 'world'


In Stage II of Material Habitants, Jingwei will add new materials, water and calligraphy, and, as part of the on-going performance, will re-arrange the installation. Intuitive free dance, influenced by her years of Taichi practice, will create a sacred space and gather energy for the coming new year.

Jingwei Bu
Taichi inspired dance


Throughout January, you can call into Dare Hair, Unley Road, Hyde Park and its adjoining gallery space, to spend some time with Material Habitants.

Thanks to skeatstudio for the images.

To keep you in touch with the exhibition, Jingwei will publicise performance times via her instagram account @patch_makes_art.
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When: until end of January 2020
Where: Dare Hair
Cost: free
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