Flowers of the Revolution and New Work

17 September - 09 October, 2004

The two major works in Yuk King Tan's show bring the material and cultural qualities of the firecracker into the dealer gallery. And I quote now from Tan's notes toward exhibition: "The Flowers of the Revolution" link symbols of revolution and political upheaval with the politics of beauty and representation. Just as the flowers were chosen for their allusion to social, cultural or political movements, so the fireworks are intended to suggest the de-stabilising effects of attempts to overthrow entrenched ideals or systems.

Each of the five flowers represent an element of revolutionary fervour. The red rose became an icon for the Georgian "Rose Revolution" labelled by the media as a reference to the rose of socialism, and Eduard Shevardnadze's fall amongst considerable constitutional confusion. The Carnation Revolution was named after the Portuguese leftist rebellion, and the Poppy suggests opium - a defining factor in the fraught history between China, Hong Kong and England."

"I am the light of the World" is a fascinating performative object. It combines elements large and small, with process that ranges from the explosive to the pedantic and the carefully reversed projection loop; all framed by research appropriate and canny in its local application. One of the most interesting ventures in South Island history says Tan, was the strange foray of the Presbyterian Church into the villages of southern China. This journey was the initiative of a local missionary who, after attempting to convert the Chinese goldminers of Otago and Southland, decided to go for the bigger catch of China itself, seeing in Canton a vision of a land to be possessed.

Thus the crusading enthusiasm of the Christian Endeavours Union of Canterbury, travelled to the area of Upper Panyu, Canton in 1920. Their mission was received largely with indifference, even resentment by locals, and was eventually discontinued.


Selected works

1. Carnation 3. Rose
2. Poppy 4. "I am the light of the world"
the beginning DVD 8 min
Edition of Three