07 Feb 2009
12 Apr 2009


UCCA, White Cube and Black box, Beijing

The Exhibition

Curated by Wang Jianwei - Organized by Emma Guo

As part of the Curated by series, UCCA is pleased to present What makes me understand what I know? an exhibition of work by the emerging artist He An, curated by leading artist Wang Jianwei and presenting neon light installations and laser-printed pictures. What makes me understand what I know? is He An’s first solo show in an art institution. 

Curated by
is UCCA‘s branded initiative to support the next generation of Chinese artists. Intending to give artists their first opportunity for a solo show, Curated by will present a series of exhibitions at UCCA in 2009.

‘’Trusting the judgment of Wang Jianwei, a current master of Chinese contemporary art, we wanted to dedicate a platform for him to present who, in his eyes, is the talent of tomorrow. Curated by gives young or emerging artists the opportunity to showcase their work to a greater number of people and He An’s work is a blast of authenticity, a piece of blunted reality’’, Jerome Sans, UCCA Director.

Following his father’s death, He An made the decision to search all over his home town of Wuhan for neon lights that feature the same characters as his dad’s name, ‘’He Taoyuan’’, as well as those of one of his favorite Japanese movie stars. ‘’Words that light on and off constitute the main part of What makes me understand What I know?. The second part of the show presents a series of laser printed posters on the wall, introducing my father and the Japanese actress as a documenting background for the installation’’, said He An.

‘’It appears that He An hovers between taboo territories’’, explains curator Wang Jianwei. ‘’From his initial direct opposition to meaning, his work mocks certain aspects of it as it progresses. He makes his work linger between ‘making mischief’ and ‘research and investigation’. Perhaps he is alert to some kind of warning, which prevents him from sinking straight into certain meaning. Although the meaning may garner him certain admiration, he still chooses to treat the lasting mirage of meaning with a soiled attitude’’.

As part of the UCCA education program, Curated by will also include an artist talk, featuring both curator Wang Jianwei and artist He An. 

The artist

Born in 1971 in Wuhan, He An graduated from the Hubei Academy of Fine Arts in 1996. The artist has participated in group exhibitions both abroad and in China, mostly presenting his photographic works such as in the Documentary Exhibition of Chinese Avant-Garde Art in the 1990s, in Fukuoka Art Museum (2000), Chinese Photography in Chambers Fine Art, New York (2001), Paris-Beijing, Paris (2002) as well as Fuck Off, Eastlink Gallery in Shanghai (2000), and Distance in the Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou (2003). He An has now added various media to his practice such as sculpture, painting and installation which have been presented in group exhibitions, notably The Exhibition of Young Artists, Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art (2004), The Real Thing, Tate Liverpool, (2007) and Rendezvous, MAC-LYON (2008).

Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) is a non-profit, comprehensive art center founded in Beijing by collectors Guy and Myriam Ullens in November 2007. UCCA presents exhibitions of established and emerging artists and acts as a trusted platform to share knowledge through education, exchange and research.

What makes me understand what I know?, 2009
What makes me understand what I know?, 2009
What makes me understand what I know?, 2009
What makes me understand what I know?, 2009
General information
Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA)
798 Art District,No.4 Jiuxianqiao Lu,
Chaoyang District, Beijing P.R.China 100015

Phone: +86 10 8459 9269
Fax: +86 10 8459 9717
Web: http://www.ucca.org.cn

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Curated by Wang Jianwei - Organized by Emma Guo
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