SYDNEY. 19 APRIL – 8 JUNE 2013.

In Possible Worlds brings together a selection of recent works by Australian artists Elly Kent, Claudia Nicholson, and Tianli Zu.

Touching on themes of intimacy, dislocation, violence and the pleasures of ordinary life, In Possible Worlds encourages us to question the concrete reality of visual fact when faced with shifting realms of meaning beneath the surface of things. Engaging with the material qualities of forms and imagery enables a process of exchange and negotiation that opens up possibilities of seeing the world in different ways.

Elly Kent’s works on paper draw on her knowledge of traditional Indonesian batik practices – a skill she learnt during her studies at the Indonesian Institute of Art in Yogyakarta. Interested in subverting the ways in which difference is identified and named, Kent re-contextualises batik processes by creating patterns using familiar everyday objects. Crafting stamps out of domestic utensils sourced from her home Kent prints the same object repetitively onto strips of paper that are then dyed, stitched together and stretched over door and window frames.

Born in Colombia and raised in Australia, Claudia Nicholson occupies an ambiguous position between Australian and Latino cultures. As an adopted child, her work questions the construction of identity in the absence of a known ancestry and subsequent experiences of cultural and geographic dislocation. Interested in the social functions of folklore and myth surrounding pregnancy and childbirth, Nicholson works extensively with her family, using performance to comment on social attributes pertaining to kinship and familial relationships.

Fascinated by the powerful potential of shadows, Tianli Zu’s large-scale intricate hand cut-outs and animations are inspired by human and organic forms and genitalia. Drawing on traditional Chinese paper cutting techniques, Zu creates complex visual environments by projecting animations through multiple layers of acetate. These beautiful objects cast shadows that evoke a sense of restlessness, anxiety, doubt and contradiction, reflecting on the inseparable relationship between light and shade and the intertwining of yin and yang.

Developed over a year through a process of curatorial guidance with 4A, these artists were chosen to exhibit by Lisa Havilah, Chief Executive Officer, Carriageworks  and Aaron Seeto, Director of 4A through 4A’s early career artists’ initiative.


Elly Kent (b. Australia) is a Canberra-based printmaker whose works on paper, inspired by Indonesian Batik practices, are created with everyday objects sourced from her home. Kent holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) in Printmaking and Drawing, and a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies specialising in Indonesian, from the Australian National University, Canberra, where she is currently completing doctoral research on the theory and practice of contemporary artists in Indonesia. Over the past decade Kent’s works have been exhibited extensively in solo and group exhibitions across Australia, and she has been an artist-in-residence at the Bundanon Trust and Megalo Print Studio and Gallery. Kent has further strengthened her ties to Indonesia by studying at the Indonesian Institute of Art and Universitas Gadjah Mada, and has also worked previously at Cemeti Art House, Yogyakarta (2003-2004).

Claudia Nicholson (b. Colombia) is a Sydney-based artist, adopted from Colombia and raised in Australia. Nicholson is a graduate of the College of Fine Arts (COFA), University of New South Wales, completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) in Painting and Drawing in 2011. She has exhibited in a number of group exhibitions across Sydney, including ARC annual emerging artist and design show (2007 & 2011) at Kudos Gallery and EASY SPEAK Tortuga Studios Group Show (2011). Nicholson’s work has been featured in COFA’s graduate exhibitions and group shows, including Halfway House at COFA Space Paddington (2011).

Tianli Zu (b. China) is a Sydney-based artist who practices in intricate papercuts and projecting light and sound animations. Her body of work is inspired by Chinese philosophy and much of her work and research dwells on shadows and the powerful dynamics between light and dark. She graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing in 1987, and has a Master of Fine Arts (Research) from the Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney, where she is presently completing a Doctor of Philosophy, researching Taoism and the power of the shadow.



Produced for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art by Das Platforms.


Image: Claudia Nicholson, Alliance VS Decent (work with dentures) (2011),  single channel video, 2 mins. Courtesy of the artist; Elly Kent, Diverge (2012-13), production image (detail), batik wax, machine stitching concrete oxides on paper, found door and window frames, dimensions variable,  private collection. Courtesy of the artist; Tianli Zu, White Shadows (2013),(detail) acrylic on acetate film, handcut, and  light projection and animation dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.