OCAT Institute is currently holding the exhibition “The Abode of Anamnesis”, which is the realization of “Picturing Histories: Historical Narratives in Contemporary Chinese Photography”, the winning proposal of OCAT’s inaugural Research-based Curatorial Project. After 3 months of planning and development, it opened to the public for the first time in March 2019.
As a writer and curator, He Yining has always been interested in the way in which photography is able to freely straddle the boundaries of contemporary art, responding to and raising questions about contemporary and historical social issues through effective, diverse, and interdisciplinary means; narrative theories in photography have also been a focus of her research in recent years. As part of her research project, the current exhibition revolves around practices based on contemporary photographic narratives; in addition to shedding light on the development and characteristics of the photographic medium in the context of postmodern visual narratives and pointing out the similarities and differences between the narrative functions of photography and other media, the exhibition also explores the complex relationship between history, memory, archive and photographic narratives.
In recent years, photographers around the globe have begun to break the conventional linear sequence in the construction of photographic texts, opting for a new wave that allows multiple narrative strategies of the real or the fictional. They fuse documents, historical photos, texts, and carefully-constructed images, taking viewers to times and places in the past, to boundaries that can or cannot be told. This kind of practice not only reflects the artists’ interest and urgent desire to delve into history, but also reveals the space that has been opened for photographic practices by the richness of social and cultural environments in history.
“The Abode of Anamnesis” focuses on several cases in Chinese contemporary art that enter historical narratives through photography. The exhibition seeks to analyse the context in which the current trend occurs, to examine the creative strategies adopted by different artists and to explore the unique viewpoint photography offers in the construction of historical narratives from different angles. By means of exploring histories of individuals and families, historical events, discussing varied historical episodes, or even reflecting on the theme of photography as a medium of historical narratives, the artists in this exhibition think of themselves as archaeologists and approach their subjects from various perspectives. While revisiting, rewriting, and reconstructing history, they have also been searching for more specific cultures.
Throughout the exhibition, a variety of forums, workshops, talks and other events are held in the spirit of promoting cross-media and cross-disciplinary research on theories of visual narratives. An exhibition catalogue containing the contents of the aforementioned events will be published by the end of the exhibition.
About the Curator
HE Yining (born. 1986), curator and writer of photography. Graduate of London College of Communication, University of the Arts London. In 2010, she began to work as a curator, translator, and writer specializing in photography and visual culture. Her work is principally focused on the way in which photography is able to freely straddle the boundaries of contemporary art, responding to and raising questions about contemporary and historical social issues through effective, diverse, and interdisciplinary means. Yining's exhibitions have been held in museums, art museums and galleries, and other institutions in China and Europe. Her publications include "Photography in the British Classroom," and "The Port and the Image," among others. Further information and detailed descriptions of her work can be found on her website, www.heyining.com.
The Abode of Anamnesis
Until June 09, 2019
OCAT Institute, Jinchanxilu, Chaoyang District, Beijing (100 meters North from Subway Line 7 Happy Valley Scenic Area Station Exit B)