After One and Half Million Years, 2002

He Yunchang
After One and Half Million Years, 2002


He Yunchang was born 1967 in Kunming, Yunnan Province (South-West China), and graduated in 1991 from the Department of Oil Painting at the Yunnan Art Institute. Since 1998, He Yunchang lives and works in Beijing. Here, He Yunchang has been continuously working on a large series of oil paintings, but often travels back to his home in Kunming to conduct a wide range of performance works. These include the 1999 performance "Golden Rays of Sunlight', a photograph of which recently featured on the cover of ART Asia Pacific.

For the Sharjah Biennial, photographs of He Yunchang's most recent performance works have been selected, which were all staged in the summer of 2002 in Xinjiang Province (North-East China). The first work is entitled "After One and A Half Million Years'. For this work the artist bought a large block of ice in Xinjiang's provincial capital Urumqi. He then travelled by bus 200 kilometres into the desert of the province, whilst carrying the piece of ice. Along the way the artist met with 12 local people, each of whom agreed to pose for the work by holding a large stone picked up from the desert soil of the locations were these photographs were taken. Then the artist had photographs taken by his two assistants, both of them artists who were born in Xinjiang and now live and work in Beijing. Finally, the centre image shows the artist himself holding up the block of ice, which was brought from Urumqi. For this work He Yunchang seeks a visual dialogue with the ancient desert landscape and with the local people. Many of these people from Xinjiang belong to the Chinese Muslim minorities, who have been living there for many centuries and whose ancestors once originated from the Middle East.

This project was part of Sharjah Biennial 6.

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