Poster of Exhibition Worldly Fate by He Yunchang

The Thorn of Chinese Contemporary Art – He Yunchang And His Performance Arts / Wang Chunchen

He Yunchang is the one who should not be neglected when studying the art in reality and may reach your heart to the bottom with his simplicity. Performance Arts, unfamiliar and even terrifying, stands out from a variety of art that people get used to especially when using bodies as its medium.

Every time and everywhere around the world the Performance arts occurs, inclosed watching, curiosity, panic and even resistance arise; with respect to the social context, it is regarded as exotic or restricted. Most of time, it is thought as the least important part of art and as an object for seeking novelty to some degree because of its directness, distinctiveness and instantaneity. In view of its instantaneity and impromptu, it exists generally not in show that can be watched immediately, but in the hearsay; it is rejected, defamed, mocked and negated in the art education and the daily consciousness of art accepting for the same reason.

If we ignore the rigid art conception and talk only about the direct awareness when being faced with human, we will keep informed of the great loss of it which is subject to the Performance Arts in the modern society that arouses the sensation veiled by convention and politics in our daily life, which is the same with celebration and rite, e.g., collective actions to arouse the sense of existence. It catch instantly the psychological muscle of the audience who are probably about to accelerate the beats and blood circulation without embellishment and adornment.

Work by He Yunchang 01

In the case of macroscopic, Performance Arts always plays a role in social avant garde, which is articulated from the perspective of social attitude and the self-interpretation of the realm of art, resulting an outcome that it must be included when defining the modern society. One point has to be mentioned is that the occurrence of the performance arts breaks many of the existing definition of art and verifies the real implication of contemporary art. The reason why we cannot agree on the definition of contemporary art is that we always try to formalize everything including those full of humanity. However, the essence of contemporary art is more than reappearing the reality; it also has profund implications on the expression of life. And most of expression of contemporary art tell not about the objects, but about the relevance of these objects.

On the part of He Yunchang, an artist who has been engaged in the performance arts for the longest time in China, he has practiced it for more than twenty years and experienced physically on his own once a year, which made up a history of art of his telling about how an artist living in China comprehends the meaning of Performance Arts, puts it into practice and conveys his comprehension and metaphor of the reality of China by means of it. It must be him that the one who have practiced the most challenging, most controversial and most potentially academic kind of form of art for several decades in his lifetime. He has created a sequential history of the Performance Arts and then stimulated this more and more stodgy society, leading to a statement that the incisive thorn of Chinese contemporary art may not exist without his Performance Arts. With his tenacity and perseverance, he substantiated again the significance of the groups of Chinese performance arts so as not to dismiss them, and resisted again the indifference and ordinary. In a period of two decades, he has proved the energy and imagination of the hearts of Chinese artists and indicated that artist have his own special meaning as an identity; these meaning is simple but profund, direct but intricate, involving the social politics and academic theories. Every practice of his is a declaration to bodies, reminding us of the physical burden, and it is absolutely a switch of thought and an opportunity to abandon the arrogant art conception as to the audience.

Work by He Yunchang 02

Although it has been through thirty years for the development of Chinese contemporary art, the performance arts was short of study and attention all the ways, encountering the most rigorous censure. It can be inferred that this kind of art would have been died away long before without any possibilities of progressing if there had no artists in performance arts like He Yunchang. Therefore, respecting these artists suffering from plenty of censure is an art and academic attitude. Owing to the serious performance arts, Chinese contemporary art provides the extensive study with possibilities, avoiding being dry and dull and losing the perceptual trueness from bodies.

In the time of spring of 2014, He Yunchang shows his plan of objective of performance arts by means of “Spring” again. He shifts his style of art from acute to tranquil, but still expresses the same thing as longing to communicate and to break up the nonchalance of humanity.

Work by He Yunchang 03

About the exhibition

Duration: Mar 22 – Apr 21, 2014

Venue: White Box Museum of Art

Opening: Mar 22, 2014 15:00

Curators: Wang Chunchen, Jonas Stampe

Genral Planner: Sun Yongzeng

Exhibition Director: Liu Chenya

Exhibition Cooperations: Cao Maochao, Li Keke

Graphic Designer: Li Jiexuan

Courtesy of the artist and White Box Museum of Art, for further information please visit www.798whitebox.com.

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