'21st Century: Art in the First Decade' is an exhibition, publication, blog and series of public programs at the Queensland Art Gallery l Gallery of Modern Art that explore the art of the past ten years. As an expanded platform for the exhibition, the '21st Century Blog' functions as a source book of reference material and contributions provided by artists, curators and writers. Read more



Ah Xian | Metaphysica: Red Fish 2007 | Bronze, brass and oil paint | Purchased 2009 with funds from the Tim Fairfax, AM, through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Image courtesy: The artist

Ah Xian ‘Metaphysica: Red Fish’ 2007

Ah Xian is a senior Chinese–Australian artist who is best known for his contemporary use of the ancient mediums of porcelain, lacquer, cloisonné and jade. ‘Metaphysica’ is the title given by Ah Xian to this ongoing series of bronze busts. Cast from life in a lengthy process, each figure is subtly different in patina and expression. Also distinguishing each one are the objects which rest on top of the busts’ heads, ranging from deities and temples to animals and lamps. As he says, they are all ‘auspicious symbolic objects which reflect what people believe, love, appreciate and enjoy’. Some have a Buddhist influence and some are from historical or traditional tales, while others are from the imagination. Like the philosophy of metaphysics, these sculptures joyously explore the nature of existence and imply something beyond the physical entities we inhabit.

Categories: Artist

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