Dedicated to works made in the 21st century, the White Rabbit Collection is owned by Judith Neilson, who was inspired to establish it after her first trips to Beijing in the late 1990s.
She was thrilled by the creative energy and technical quality of the works she saw and wanted to share them with people outside China. She makes regular trips to China and Taiwan to augment the Collection, which now includes more than 2000 works by almost 700 artists. The gallery building, a Rolls-Royce service depot in the 1940s, was completely refitted as an exhibition space by architect William Smart.
The White Rabbit Gallery is a registered charitable institution funded solely by Judith Neilson.
A BLUEPRINT FOR RUINS
Beneath the glossy surface of progress lurks a simmering undercurrent of violence. Cities tear themselves apart to make way for towering skyscrapers and gleaming high-rises. However, in this bright new world, one question arises: where have all the people gone? Streets devoid of life and vacant apartment blocks stand as haunting reminders of an abandoned dream. Like solemn tombs from a long-lost civilisation, these forgotten monuments silently bear witness to the cost of rapid urbanisation, where each new creation necessitates the destruction of another.
As China’s cities race to embrace modernity in a never-ending dance of renewal, buildings are designed to be demolished even before their completion. The casualties of development are left to drift through the ruins of their ruptured world. Displaced individuals and their stories echo through abandoned spaces, once home to ancestral sites and legacies of long family lineages. Amidst the rubble, however, stand ‘nail houses’, occupying land of immense value. Weaving another layer into China’s complex landscape, they are a testament to both impermanence and resistance against rapacious developers and government-sanctioned mass clearances.
‘A Blueprint for Ruins’ reverberates with the shadows of the dispossessed within China’s urban metamorphosis. The artworks guide us toward the remnants of memories woven into the very fabric of each structure, even as the walls crumble. As the artist Hu Weiyi poignantly writes: “It’s as if every abandoned building, about to disappear, is attempting to sing its last note, and eventually they will come together to form a requiem for an era.”
The White Rabbit Gallery Opening Hours:
Wednesday – Sunday: 10 AM – 5 PM
Visit the White Rabbit Gallery website
Photography: Hamish McIntosh