RMIT art student from China contributes to Gertrude Street Projection Festival

THE Gertrude Street Projection Festival is lighting up buildings and splashing colour across Fitzroy in a collaboration of art and landscape all week long. We caught up with RMIT student Alex Yang whose work will be featured in the festival. Stephen Clarke has more. 

Gertrude Street Projection Festival 2013. Image: Chris Phutully via Wikimedia

Gertrude Street Projection Festival 2013. Image: Chris Phutully via Wikimedia

Melbourne’s Gertrude Street Projection Festival this week celebrates its eighth staging of the highly visible and accessible art bonanza, which presents large scale art in the streets and on buildings.

The art of projection reaches fine form throughout this ten day festival, when artistic collaboration illuminates the buildings of Fitzroy’s trendy Gertrude street with a fantastic array of projected wonders.

Interactive design, informative exhibitions, dances and mind-bending video art are just some of the many installations to be seen at the festival.

RMIT University’s School of Art is one of the many contributors to this years program. Their artwork, titled Interstices, will be on display at Frances Antiques throughout the festival. The project had students explore ‘the spaces in between’ in a series of intimate projections that illuminate objects within the antiques store.

One of these students is Alex Yang, an overseas student from China currently completing a Master of Arts in Public Space. His work draws from the famous dragon imagery that is so emblematic of Chinese festive celebrations.

Coming to Australia was Alex’s first time abroad, and he found the contrast in art between China and western culture very interesting.

“From my aspect, in China, I see a lot of artists doing art as a way of criticising society, but in Australia artists are doing all kinds of art practices, which are more interesting and give me a lot of new ways of thinking,” he said.

Image: Alex Yang

Image: Alex Yang

He created a dragon character as a part of his Masters graduating work, although he said he is working on something much more complex for his major piece.

“My main work is something else, that [dragon for the Projection Festival] is very simple.”

“This is the first time I’ve put the character into the public space, because I want to have a little testing ground for this character.”

Alex has been interested in projection work for about six months and was drawn to the art form by an interest in the light elements, as well as a background in interior and landscape design.

“It’s much easier to get the public’s attention.”

So far Alex has found the public reception to his artwork very positive.

“That was such a relief, because I wasn’t expecting such compliments for simple testing work. All those reactions give me the motivation to go further and [create] more solid works around this character.”

So will Alex continue to follow projection work?

“Definitely,” he said.

The festival is running every night from 6.00pm until 12am until Sunday, July 19 so head over and check it out. Interstices is on view at Frances Antiques, 39 Gertrude St. Visit their website for a more detailed look at what’s on. 

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