This month, visitors to Chengdu will encounter a giant sculpture of a golden monkey who hails all the way from Melbourne. A collaboration between acclaimed Australian artist Lisa Roet and Swire Hotels, the sculpture will grace the courtyard of The Temple House from 26 November until 1 January 2017.
Entitled “Golden Monkey”, the sculpture measures 14 metres tall and will hang from the hotel’s stunning glass facade. Golden Monkey was displayed last month at another luxury Swire property, The Opposite House in Beijing, during Beijing Design Week, and travelled to Chengdu this month for the next stage of its journey. Made in Melbourne, the hand-stitched inflatable sculpture is constructed from a lightweight metallic material with the appearance of gold metal. Whilst whimsical, the work by Roet delivers a serious message about global warming and habitat loss affecting the rare golden sneezing snub-nosed monkey native to the forested China-Myanmar border. The species, whose flat nose is uniquely adapted to its icy climate, was recently discovered after local villagers heard it sneezing, caused by melting ice. “The installation includes the sound of intermittent sneezes, which helps to draw people to investigate the work,” says Roet.
“The House Collective and Swire Hotels are renowned s known for presenting cutting-edge art to the community, and we were lucky to receive huge support from to bring this project to fruition. Through my work, I want to empower the ape or monkey with whom we share in excess of 98% of our DNA, and invite humans to connect with these relatives and reflect on who we are,” said Roet.
Roet, a Melbourne native, has spent the past 25 years working with the image of the ape and monkey to express her lifelong passion for the science of genetic evolution. She has been represented by galleries in Australia, Belgium and the USA, and has held over 25 solo exhibitions worldwide. In recent years she has made her mark in China’s art scene, featuring at prestigious events such as the Shanghai Biennale and Chengdu Biennale, and collaborating with local artist Shen Shaomin.