Beyond Landscape

17 November to 17 December 2016

Starkwhite is pleased to present Beyond Landscape from 17 November to 17 December 2016. The exhibition explores approaches to landscape informed by place, culture and history, through the photographs of Danie Mellor (AUS), Jin Jiangbo (CN) and Gavin Hipkins (NZ).

Danie Mellor’s work has addressed Australia’s colonial past and its legacies today, exploring themes that are critically linked to cultural histories and concepts of the landscape. A more recent focus has been on ideas of authenticity within the image and how this is linked to the powerful undercurrent of nostalgia in historical imagery.

Created for the Adelaide Biennale of Art: Magic Object (2016), the photographs in Beyond Landscape explore our relationship with the ‘otherness’ of the natural world. Nature – the world and its matter, whether alive or inert – becomes a magic object in and of itself for Mellor. Lush rainforest vegetation, conjured in the artist’s signature blue palette seduce and entrap the viewer. With Aboriginal and Anglo-Australia heritage, Mellor draws on Western traditions and indigenous cultural perspective to create imagery that suggests multiple ways of approaching the conceptual space of our environment.  

New Zealand is a country celebrated for its natural beauty, its vast landscapes appearing on tourist posters and in feature films worldwide. In his Dialogue with Nature series Shanghai-based artist Jin Jiangbo layers his own cultural landscape upon ours, to capture in the shanshui tradition New Zealand’s mountains, oceans and beaches not with ink on paper, but through the lens of a camera.  He offers us a reworking of our own landscape through his own heritage, giving it a cultural inflection that allows New Zealanders to look through new cultural eyes – to look afresh at what we thought we knew. Presenting the work in the style of a one-and-a-half-millennia-old tradition, Jin Jiangbo has made the familiar unfamiliar. 

With his New Age and The Sanctuary series, Gavin Hipkins presents landscape vistas and fragments of nature, overlaid with buttons, beads and lace, and produced under the seductive guise of pictorial photography. They highlight his interest in the unoccupied landscape as a contested space. An amalgam of photogram and the photograph, The Sanctuary works have connoted calligraphy, animation, ghost traces and the late nineteenth century scientific art of chrono-photography. These series also pay homage to oriental and New Age references. Under this reverent light, the domestic materials Hipkins places on the prints can also be interpreted as worry beads sitting atop of a familiar vernacular landscape: beautiful, romantic, and ultimately, sexualized landscape.

The exhibition also includes Hipkins’ recent video, New Age 2016. Calling on passages from an English spiritualist manual from the 1870s, Hipkins’ video explores the ritual landscape of Avebury’s stone circles. Imagining a solstice celebration with his friends, spiritualism and spirit photography are revisited in the twenty-first century.


Born in Mackay, Queensland, Danie Mellor has lived, worked, travelled and studied in Australia, England, Scotland and South Africa. His work has been regularly shown in significant exhibitions, including Story Place, Queensland Art Gallery and Primavera, Museum of Contemporary Art, Culture Warriors and unDisclosed at the National Gallery of Australia, and Sakahàn, the inaugural international survey of Indigenous art at the National Gallery of Canada in 2013.

Recent projects include a major 10-year survey at University of Queensland Art Museum in 2014, and a solo exhibition of his works Primordial: SuperNaturalBayiMinyjirral at the National Museum of Scotland as part of the Edinburgh Art and International Festivals.  Major works were created for the 8th Asia Pacific Triennial at QAGOMA, the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art at AGSA and the Samstag Museum, and the inaugural Yinchuan Biennale For an Image, Faster Than Light held at the Yinchuan Museum of Contemporary Art.

Mellor’s work is represented in permanent international, national, state, regional, university and important private collections within Australia and overseas, and has won several awards.

In addition to his art practice, Danie held positions of lecturer and senior lecturer at the National Institute of the Art, ANU and Sydney College of the Arts, USYD, and was appointed to the Visual Arts Board as member and Chair at the Australia Council for the Arts. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts (Visual) with Honours from Canberra School of Art and a MA (Fine Art) from Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, University of Central England, UK, he completed his doctorate at the School of Art, National Institute of the Arts, ANU in Canberra in 2004.

Based in Shanghai, Jin Jiangbo is one of China’s foremost recent generation of media artists. He was born in 1972 in Zhejiang province and is completed his PhD at Tsinghua University in Beijing in 2012.

Recent exhibitions include: Dak’Art, African Biennale, Dakar Biennale (2016); Rules of Nature, Starkwhite, Auckland (2013); Peeling the Unseen (with Phil Dadson), V Art Centre (Space 2), Shanghai (2012); THE THIRD NATURE – Chinese reconstruction, the 2nd project exhibition of the 4th Guangzhou Triennial, Guangdong Museum, Guangzhou (2012); Shanshui: Poetry without sound, Landscape in Chinese Art, Museum of Art, Lucerne (2011); Dialogue with nature, Starkwhite, Auckland (2011); Crystal City, Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt (2011)Shanghai Ye! Shanghai, Starkwhite, Auckland (2010); Never Equal Distance to the Moon: Power, Politics, and the Environment, Faureschou Copenhagen, Denmark (2009/2010); China in Four Seasons: Jin Jiangbo, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, New Zealand (2009); Booming, Wall Art Museum, Beijing and Shanghai Gallery of Art, China (2008); 3rd Nanjing Triennial, China (2008); Remote/Control, MOCA – Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, China (2007); Shanghai Surprise, Lothringer 13 – Stadische Kunsthalle Munchen, Munich, Germany (2005); 4th Shanghai Biennale (2003); and Venice Biennale, Italy (2003).

Jin Jiangbo is currently Associate Dean at the Shanghai Academy of Arts, Shanghai University and Executive director of the University’s Public Art Coordination Centre. He is a founding member of the International Award for Public Art (Shanghai) and a trustee of the Institute for Public Art (Hong Kong).

Gavin Hipkins is an Auckland-based artist who works with photography and moving image. He has been described as a ‘tourist of photography’ reflecting a strategic treatment of eclectic styles and diverse photographic techniques. Over the last two decades his practice has engaged postcolonial, architectural, and commodity discourses via a range of analogue and digital technologies, photo-installations, and artist videos. Recent exhibitions include: International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Germany (2016); International Film Festival Rotterdam, The Netherlands (2015); The Jewish Museum, New York, USA (2015); Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), New York, USA (2014); Edinburgh Art Festival, Scotland (2014).

He represented New Zealand at the 1998 Sydney Biennale, and the 2002 Sao Paulo Biennale. He was the recipient of the inaugural residency for New Zealand artists at Artspace Sydney, in 1998. In 2006 he completed an artist’s residency at the International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York, and in 2007 completed the McCahon Residency in Auckland. His work is included in major public and private collections including the Queensland Art Gallery, the Auckland Art Gallery, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts, and George Eastman Museum of Photography and Film, Rochester, New York. He is an Associate Professor at Elam School of Fine Arts, The University of Auckland.





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