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OCAT Institute Beijing – The Abode of Anamnesis
March 8, 2019 @ 8:00 amJune 9, 2019 @ 5:00 pm CST
OCAT Institute is pleased to announce the opening of the exhibition The Abode of Anamnesis on March 8, 2019, at 5:00 pm. The Abode of Anamnesis 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 will be open to the public for the first time this March.
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 will revolve 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 will also explore 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 analyze 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.
During the exhibition, a variety of forums, workshops, talks, and other events will be held in the spirit of promoting cross-media and cross-disciplinary research on theories of visual narratives. An exhibition catalog containing the contents of the aforementioned events will be published by the end of the exhibition.
The Research, Writing, and Practice of Postmodern Visual Narrative
Venue: Auditorium, 1st Floor, OCAT Institute
The symposium for the exhibition will take place at the OCAT Institute on the opening day of the exhibition. Centered around the theme “The Research, Writing and Practice of Postmodern Visual Narrative”, the symposium consists of two different panels: “Narrative Turn in Contemporary Art: Theory and Practice” and “Vision of Contemporary Photographic Narrative”. Researchers from various disciplines in China and abroad are invited to talk about different issues related to the research, writing, and practice of visual narratives in the global art industry, with the aim of promoting cross-media and cross-disciplinary research on theories of visual narratives.
Panel I: 10:00-12:20
Narrative Turn in Contemporary Art: Theory and Practice
From the 1990s to date, researches on postmodern narratives have been flourishing in fields such as literature, film and video art for nearly 30 years. Theories born in different areas of study, including semiotics, art history, and iconology, are widely used in the research and writing of visual narratives and have deepened the dialogue between different cultures and disciplines. At the same time, artists are constantly redefining the boundaries of visual narratives through the use of new media, ingenious constructions of their work and creative ways of presentation. “Narrative Turn in Contemporary Art: Theory and Practice” focus on the research and practice of narratives in contemporary art in China and the West. The panel will explore different media such as film, video, and photography as well as their connection to traditional literary narratives and the mutual construction between the two.
10:00-11:30 Guest Talks
Moderator：Wang Huan (Writer, Curator, Winner of the Fifth International Awards for Art Criticism)
Long Diyong (Professor, Department of Art Theory, School of Art, Southeast University)
Lu Mingjun (Associate Professor, Department of Art Studies, Sichuan University)
Yang Beichen (Researcher of Contemporary Art and Film, Lecturer of Drama Literature Department, Central Academy of Drama )
Zhu Xinwei (Lecturer, School of Foreign Languages, Beijing Forestry University)
11:30-11:45 Coffee Break
11:45-12:20 Panel Discussion
Guests: Wang Huan, Long Diyong, Lu Mingjun, Yang Beichen, Zhu Xinwei, Yang Yuanyuan, Chen Min, Dong Yuxiang, He Yining
Panel II: 14:00-16:30
A vision of Contemporary Photographic Narrative
Communicating meanings through elaborately constructed images and incorporating photos into macro- or micro-narratives by freeing them from their representational functions and reordering them are both strategies used by creators of contemporary photographic narratives in their attempt to break from traditional narratives. Due to the richness of the photographic language and its complicated relationship with other narrative media, “Vision of Contemporary Photographic Narrative” will focus on a series of questions closely related to contemporary photographic narratives: Can we use postmodern theories on narrative in the formulation of a set of analytic strategies for image narratives? Why should we construct narratives through photography when video art has been fully developed? What do photographic narratives have in common with literary and cinematic narratives and what are the differences? Does the popularity of photobooks worldwide play an important role in the current trend of photographic narratives?
14:00-15:00 Guest Talks
Moderator: He Yining (Researcher, Curator)
Greg Battye (Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Arts and Design, University of Canberra)
José Luís Neves (Belfast School of Art, University of Ulster)
Shi Zhen (Artist, Independent Publisher)
He Bo (Artist, Editor of Chinese Photography Magazine）
15:30-15:50 Coffee Break
15:50-16:30 Panel Discussion
Guests: Greg Battye, José Luís Neves, Shi Zhen, He Bo, Li Lang, Zhu Lanqing, He Yining