Onward: Kunlin He

When 28 Feb 2019 - 29 Mar 2019
Where NanHai Art Gallery 520
520 Broadway
Millbrae, CA 94030
United States

Opening Reception: February 28, 2019, 5:00 – 7:00 pm 

Onward is a comprehensive overview of Kunlin He’s artworks created from 2015 to 2018. This exhibition systematically demonstrates He’s experiments with paintings, installation, video, performance and conceptual art in general as an emerging Chinese-born and US-based artist. It also reveals He’s critical deliberations on the relationships between his peers and precedents after the political and economic transformation of China.

This exhibition consists of three major sections. The 16 Cun Project shows how He found inspirations in Western conceptual art (Gesamtkunstwerk and post-Internet art in particular), and used multimedia art forms to rethink and illustrate cun, namely the brushstrokes that give texture to the pictorial elements in traditional Chinese paintings.

Every Bush and Tree Looks like an Enemy is a series of artworks that the artist created at Headlands Center for the Arts and other artist-in-residence programs in 2016. Having witnessed the resurgence of nationalism, the artist started to contemplate on the ecological relationship between Chinese literati landscape paintings and the surrounding socio-political landscape. He used historical metaphors to criticize the alarming reality.

The third section is dedicated to representing He’s recent endeavors to apply the theories and methodologies in Sinology, Sinophone studies and East Asian studies to the making of visual art. He is particularly interested in the studies of China’s political environment, mass media and popular culture, and the diaspora community.

About the Artist

Kunlin He

Born in 1992 in Nanchang, China, Kunlin He currently lives in San Francisco, CA. His work focuses on redefining Asian identities, territories, borders, nationalisms, as well as Chinese masculinity in traditional art and philosophy, in his visual and media-based conceptual art. He is also interested in revealing the hybridity and heterogeneity of Chinese identities in the context of globalization, using the resources of East Asian traditional cultures and culture studies.

He received a BFA in Environmental Design from Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China in 2014, an MFA from San Francisco Art Institute in 2016 and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2018. He is a graduate fellow and affiliated artist at Headlands Center for the Arts (2017-2019). His work has been included in exhibitions at the Drawing Center, Headlands Center for the Arts, Seattle Art Fair, Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco, Pennsylvania State University, among others. He has participated in several residencies including Ox-Bow School of Art; MASS MoCA; Atlantic Center for the Arts; Elsewhere Museum; and Santa Fe Art Institute. He has been selected as one of the finalists for the 2019 SFMOMA SECA Award.

Image courtesy of the organizer.

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