An-Li: A Chinese Ghost Tale
Kate Beynon’s new body of work is inspired by a supernatural Chinese tale of two young spirits, An-Li and Rose of Evening, who traverse two worlds; one magically aquatic, the other earthly. Guided by a deep longing for each other, they cross over the threshold between the living and the dead. The works have been commissioned by Art and Australia for a new publication, An-Li: A Chinese Ghost Tale which includes the story alongside colour reproductions of the works in this exhibition.
In their vivid retelling of this fantastic narrative (also known as Rose of Evening), Laura Murray Cree and Kate Beynon engage in the long-standing practice of reinventing ancient Chinese myths for contemporary times. For Beynon, this strange tale of tragedy, transformation and redemption, provided the basis for the creation of a suite of works on paper, paintings, an animated video and a suspended sculptural installation. Beynon’s graphic adaptation of the story of An-Li encompasses both the shared inheritance of the story’s ancestral imaginings and a range of more personal references.
The resulting highly distinctive compositions, reflect her own experiences of ‘transcultural life’ in which aspects of ancient folklore co-exist with everyday immersion in popular culture, drawing on diverse source material including Chinese and Japanese traditional imagery, Taoist magic calligraphy blended with influences from contemporary comic book graphics, film, animation and fashion.
By rekindling this imaginary tale from the past, Beynon reveals the uncanny power of the otherworldly to bring to light the preciousness and precarity of the world we live in.