The Abode of Anamnesis 记忆寓所



The Abode of Anamnesis







Opening Ceremony & Guided Tour with the Curator



Duration:2019.03.08 – 2019.06.09



Curator:He Yining


艺术家: 陈旻、董宇翔、黎朗、石真、唐景锋、杨圆圆、朱岚清

Artists: Chen Min, Dong Yuxiang, Li Lang, Shi Zhen, Kurt Tong, Yang Yuanyuan, Zhu Lanqing




Address: OCAT Institute, Jinchanxilu, Chaoyang District, Beijing (100 meters North from Subway Line 7 Happy Valley Scenic Area Station Exit B)





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 catalogue containing the contents of the aforementioned events will be published by the end of the exhibition.






About the Curator


HE Yining (born. 1986), curator and writer of photography. Graduate of London College of Communication, University of the Arts London. In 2010, she began to work as a curator, translator, and writer specializing in photography and visual culture. Her work is principally focused on 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. Yining's exhibitions have been held in museums, art museums and galleries, and other institutions in China and Europe. Her publications include "Photography in the British Classroom," and "The Port and the Image," among others. Further information and detailed descriptions of her work can be found on her website,





The Research, Writing and Practice of Postmodern Visual Narrative



March 8, 2019



Venue: Auditorium, 1st Floor, OCAT Institute




The first part of the symposium 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: Narrative Turn in Contemporary Art: Theory and Practice


Moderator:Wang Huan (Writer, Curator, Winner of the Fifth International Awards for Art Criticism)


Time: 10:00-12:00





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” focuses 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 主题发言

10:00-11:30 Guest Talks









Long Diyong (Professor, Department of Art Theory, School of Art, Southeast University)

Lu Mingjun (Associate Professor, Faculty of Fine Arts, 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 圆桌讨论

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: Vision of Contemporary Photographic Narrative



Time: 14:00-16:30



Moderator: He Yining (Researcher, Curator)




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?



14:00-15:30  主题发言

14:00-15:00 Guest Talks



[澳]格雷格·巴蒂耶(Greg Battye,堪培拉大学艺术与设计学院客座教授)

[葡]何塞·路易斯·内维斯(José Luís Neves,英国贝尔法斯特阿尔斯特大学艺术、设计与建筑环境学院讲师)





Greg Battye (University of Canberra, Art and Design, Adjunct Professor)

José Luís Neves (University of Ulster, Art, Design and Built Environment, Faculty Member)

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




Artist’s Talk: Memory Corridor




If we see the subject of the research of history as relics, or perceivable traces left by phenomena that can no longer be known, then the subject of the artworks in “The Abode of Anamnesis” can be understood as the effect of the visual manifestation of these relics on the ways we retrace, narrate and look at history.




Grounded in media such as photography and archive, Chen Min’s research and creative work explore the interplay between text and image as well as the relationship between history and reality. Dong Yuxiang’s research focuses on topics such as (post-) internet art, bio-art, object-oriented ontology and internet culture in China. Li Lang experiments with documentary photography in a reflective and subjective way in “1974: Image, Text and Memory” and presents an alternative view of one fragment of history with a summary of the important events of 1974 and written memories on the wall. The complex relationship between reality and memory lies at the heart of Shi Zhen’s creative practice. She starts from her own experience and proceeds to look outward, hoping to find the balance between memory and reality in time. Zhu Lanqing’s “Excavation of the Sunk Boat” is an exploration of the history and culture of the Port of Quanzhou based on historical events that took place at a specific location; it paints a highly diverse picture of a region where the past and present converge and agriculture coexists with industry.




As part of the exhibition program, “Memory Corridor” provides an opportunity for audiences to learn about the research and practice of the five artists mentioned above.



March 9, 2019



Venue: Auditorium, 1st Floor, OCAT Institute





Guest Speakers: Chen Min, Dong Yuxiang, Li Lang, Shi Zhen, Zhu Lanqing



16:00-16:30 Artist Panel



16:30-17:00 Guided Tour with the curator and artists