An He (b.1971, China)

Born in Hubei province, Wuhan, An He has been creating some of the most controversial and intimately personal works of art on the scene of contemporary Chinese arts. "Contemporary discourse in China has often focussed on the differences and similarities between Chinese and Western cultures. Although the idiosyncrasies of postmodernism in China are a major source of research in itself, it is the faculty of ironic self-awareness where differences between East and West are perhaps most pronounced in contemporary art. In a recent essay, the British artist Liam Gillick articulated his impatience with our contemporary era, and mocked contemporary attitude as being “marked by a display of self-knowledge, a degree of social awareness, some tolerance, and a little bit of irony, all combined with an acknowledgment of the failure of modernism…

”He An's work is self-aware but not self-conscious. He is not embarrassed by the directness of his emotional appeal. In other words, the emotional warmth of his attitude shuns the cool postmodern ironic detachment so central to contemporary aesthetics. However, He An is very aware of the detached gesture and how to use it. His contact with a broader public was not made from the perspective of a social activist, but rather from a poetic frame of reference. Detachment is closely related to urban existence, to the anonymity and loneliness of metropolitan life.As well as being an artist, He An's pursuits include kickboxing, research into Chinese comic books, creative writing, and Taoist divination. He An does not believe in the idea of the artist existing as a unique entity, he believes that contemporary life and culture is nomadic by nature. Rather than settling on one state of mind, He An chooses to roam constantly between various physical, cultural, and spiritual states. Nomadic movement follows resources. In terms of contemporary urban life, this generally means work, no matter if it's peasants travelling to the city as itinerant labourers, or office workers constantly hopping from company to company. However, in terms of contemporaneity, He An feels the necessity to have a wider sense of involvement with life and culture. This can be understood as another dimension to He An's “grey space", a blurring of the lines between disciplines." (Colin Chennery)

He, An b.1971

artworks in collection

related artists / China / Far East