Gordon Cheung: Here Be Dragons

Fishing for Souls (After Adriaen Pietersz. van de Venne, 1614), Gordon Cheung, 2015. 6 min loop with 3 hour soundtrack loop

Gordon Cheung : Here Be Dragons
30 April – 17 July 2016

Gordon Cheung is a contemporary artist whose work captures the mood of the global collapse of civilization – or a dystopian, prophetic vision of it – where moral, economic and environmental crises have spun out of control.  Spiritual undertones are balanced alongside familiar contemporary images including sources from popular media, cyberspace, nature, and more recently, from historical painting.  This solo exhibition, generously supported by Edel Assanti, London and Alan Cristea Gallery, London will feature new large-scale paintings, animations and digital works made especially for Nottingham Castle and shown here for the first time.

Here be Dragons is a reference to cartographical ‘Unknown Lands’, meaning dangerous or unexplored territories.  For Cheung, it frames the geopolitical situation in the South China Sea where new territorial lines are being contested and redrawn. It is also a phrase that is also used by computer programmers to caution a region of code that is complex, informing the ‘glitch’ (New Order) digital works that are based on 17th century Dutch painting and traditional Chinese Ink painting, including works drawn from the Castle’s own collection.

The exhibition explores the birth of the first multinational company and Modern Capitalism in the Dutch Golden Age as it stretches through history intersecting trade routes, culture and colonisation to the rise of China with Authoritarian Capitalism.

Here Be Dragons II. Gordon Cheung. 200 x 150cm / 2016 Financial newspaper, acrylic, sand on canvas and sail cloth


A fully illustrated catalogue published on Saturday 11 June 2016 by Nottingham City Museums & Galleries with texts by Tristram Aver and John-Paul Stonard will accompany this exhibition.

This exhibition is has been supported by Edel Assanti, London, and is part of the Grand Tour season 2 programme.  The Grand Tour reinterprets world class collections through contemporary art at four venues in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, with a fringe programme at other leading venues across the two regions. Season two, 17 March – 26 June 2016.

For more information on the Grand Tour and its wider fringe programme, please visit www.thegrandtour.uk.com



catalogue cover design

Gordon Cheung: Here Be Dragons

This ambitious and richly illustrated hard-backed book, designed by Peter Willberg, features:

  • 82 large format 275 x 240mm pages
  • Hard-backed cover and binding.
  • Introductory text by exhibiton curator Tristram Aver.
  • An engaging and critical essay by writer John-Paul Stonard.
  • An in-depth interview between Gordon Cheung and Edel Assanti Co-Director Jeremy Epstein.
  • 46 pages of full colour plates, double-page spreads and close-up details of the works from the exhibition, including installation photography.


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