ACIAC Exhibition: Essence, Energy, Spirit

Event Name
ACIAC Exhibition: Essence, Energy, Spirit
14 October 2019
Parramatta South Campus

Address (Room): Australia-China Institute for Arts and Culture Gallery, Building EA.G.03, Parramatta South Campus, Western Sydney University. Corner of James Ruse Drive and Victoria Road, Rydalmere.


Guan Wei chose the artworks for this exhibition, from his own personal collection, as well as deriving the title for it, Essence, Energy, Spirit, which aptly captures the recurring themes of his art’s practice. Guan Wei is renowned for creating works that interlace imagery from his Chinese heritage, his life experience in Australia and his personal iconography, working across painting, sculpture and installation. The exhibition is comprised of three distinct bodies of work. The series, Return to the Origin contextualises our human journey within the Universe. Images of the human figure are juxtaposed with symbols of the cosmos, deliberately drawn upon ceramics; a material that has been used by humans for thousands of years; to remind the viewer of their relatively brief time in history. Humans are portrayed as being part of nature, but a mere speck within it, when one considers how vast and old the Universe is. The series, Longevity for Beginners explores themes of spiritual and physical balance via imagery of both external and internal views of the human body, drawn from traditional Chinese medicine and qi-gong, as well as his own personal symbolism. The underlying narrative of these paintings suggests the importance of the connection between the mind/spirit and body, and that being in balance with nature is essential for good health and general well-being. The final series, which is Untitled, explores the relationship between the subconscious mind and its effect on our individual perception of our daily reality. Some of these works evoke emotional states of fear, uncertainty, anxiety, pressure, powerlessness and entrapment. A prostrate figure is held precariously by a single thread to a more powerful being; demons and animals are depicted biting or nipping at a heel or eating away at what looks like a heart held in a hand. These paintings are interspersed with others which present a floating head on a bed of clouds, in what seems to be in a state meditation. This series of works suggest to the viewer, that to master their subconscious, spiritual practices and/or exercises can assist in transforming their experience to higher states of consciousness, such as peace, joy and bliss. Ultimately these works by Guan Wei, remind us of the consequences of a fast paced, technology driven, western lifestyle, too full of angst, can be transcended, if we remember our essence, energy and spirit and how to nurture them. Monica McMahon Art Curator Western Sydney University.

Web page:,_energy,_spirit

Name: ACIAC Reception S.

Phone: 02 9685 9944

School / Department: Australia-China Institute for Arts and Culture (ACIAC)