February 7, 2009 - UCCA, Beijing - Qiu Zhijie, Mona Hatoum, and He An
February 7, 2009

Qiu Zhijie, Mona Hatoum, and He An

Qiu Zhijie: Breaking through the ice
February 15 – May 15, 2009

Mona Hatoum: Measures of Entanglement
February 7 – April 5, 2009

He An: What makes me understand what I know
February 7 – March 22, 2009

798 Art District, No.4 Jiuxianqiao Lu
Chaoyang District, Beijing P.R.China, 100015


Acting as a platform of dialogue between China contemporary creativity and the world, UCCA inaugurates its spring season with three landmark shows: Qiu Zhijie: Breaking through the ice, Mona Hatoum: Measures of Entanglement and He An: What makes me understand what I know.

Following a series of exhibitions exploring the origins of Chinese contemporary art, UCCA presents Qui Zhijie: Breaking through the ice as an ambitious new project, being the artist’s first major solo exhibition and featuring totally new works commissioned especially for this exhibition.

Breaking through the ice reveals mankind’s desire of building gigantic structures and their related systems, especially within Chinese industrial history. Conceived as a huge sinking ship that is engaging the audience throughout the industrial transformations of China, this highly experimental show displays a wide variety of works ranging from sculpture and installation to ink paintings and pictures. Viewed together these works explore the ill-fated implications of massive industrial state enterprises, such as the iconic Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge, for the individual mind, private life, history, philosophy and surrounding nature.

“Qiu Zhijie is recognized as one of the leading figures of China’s new generation of artists. His artistic orientation, theory and curating have time and again been the driving force of several Chinese art movements, setting the standard for younger and more established artists alike”, said Guo Xiaoyan, co-curator of the exhibition and UCCA chief curator.

Along side, Qiu Zhijie: Breaking through the ice, UCCA is presenting Mona Hatoum: Measures of Entanglement. ”As the first choice in a new series of creative endeavors with today’s most prominent international contemporary artists, this show initiates a very powerful dialogue with Chinese audiences, creating debate around the notions of transient culture and otherness that also lie at the core of Chinese contemporary art today” said Jerome Sans, UCCA’s Director.

In Mona Hatoum’s universe, familiar objects shift in scale and mutate until they take on a complex psychological charge that makes them appear both alluring and dangerous. A constellation of crystal spheres is arranged to form Web (2006), a net-like structure suspended from above in UCCA’s nave that attracts the eye but mimics the shape of a spider’s trap. Paravent and Dormiente (both 2008) are enlarged kitchen graters whose enormity transforms them into a room partition and a bed, respectively, but their sharp edges threaten to harm those who would dare to touch them.

The exhibition also features video works from earlier in the artist’s career, including the deeply moving Measures of Distance (1988), which lyrically addresses Hatoum and her mother’s separation after civil war erupted in Beirut in 1975; video documentation of the public performance Roadworks (1985); and a series of unique works on paper.

“Mona Hatoum’s extraordinary ability to illuminate the uncanny dimension of our everyday lives cuts across cultural divides” says UCCA Curator David Spalding. “The simplicity of materials and the grace with which they are combined, coupled with the sometimes ominous associations they conjure, creates an ambivalence that activates the imagination”.

This spring, UCCA also launches a special project to support the next generation of Chinese artists. For its first issue in 2009, UCCA presents He An: What makes me understand what I know, an exhibition of emerging artist He An, curated by leading artist Wang Jianwei and presenting neon light installations and pictures. What makes me understand what I know is He An’s first solo show in an art institution.

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 one of his favorite Japanese movie stars. “Words that light on and off feature in 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.

UCCA, Beijing
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