He An: Dark Purple He An

2017.03.17 to 2017.04.29

MadeIn Gallery, No.106, 2879 Longteng Avenue, Xuhui District, Shanghai (Fenggu Rd.)

MadeIn Gallery is pleased to present Dark Purple an exhibition of new works by He An from March 18 to April 30, 2017. Following his first solo exhibition in the gallery in 2014, Dark Purple will showcase a selection of installations with corresponding texts.

He An said: “If you are able to segregate yourself from reality, you will see cold and hot changes everywhere, as well as temperature and spectrum of substances.” This is the artist’s vision of the world, he hears the city sighs in the concrete, feels from the urban lights the coldness of the night and the heat of human body, he sees a demoniac white light, ambivalently destructive or sacred emanating from street girls.

Works in the exhibition reflect certain of these perspectives. Unit 00 and Dark Purple are composed of steel and iron structures that produce cold and heat respectively, as inorganic entities awaiting and crawling in the space seeking for emotions, the frost and the heat as artificially breathing, wander between the spirit and the dead. Following the urban development and the diffusion of industrial materials, and within the poetic approach of the artist, construction security grid becomes a lyrical media in the work Black Mamba, sharing with the cold and warm installations an ambiguous state of existence.

He An’s unique perception stems from his philosophical interpretation of form and space, two works both named White Light consist in positive and negative transpositions within three dimensional spaces, they constitute the logical continuation and development of his understanding of the outside world. Such interest for negative spaces can be traced back to his earlier works where LED boxes and neon light featured texts’ negative outlines, which again will be echoed in this show through the preface written by He An. In the observation process of this “threesome”, the ambiguity in the description of this field experience leads to the dissolution of the space – this might precisely be the literary aspects in these negative and positive transformations, and also represents He An’s dialectic on positivity and negativity, holiness and dirtiness, salvation and depravation. For him, the “white light”, is the light of Buddha that flowed from relics in the underground palace of the Famen Temple, but also is the brightness radiating from prostitutes’ body. The meaning of humility and nobility through the unspoken state of works, is dissolved in the various reference texts collected and weaved by him – and only by connecting these references can He An’s Dark Purple progressively manifest its obscure glow.


He An, born in 1970 in Wuhan, studied in the Hubei Academy of Fine Arts. His practice covers various media, often combining industrial materials to create site-specific installations filled with narrations. He presented solo exhibitions worldwide including: Australian Center for Contemporary Art (2017), Daniel Templon Galerie, Belgium (2014). He was also part of numerous major group exhibitions such as: Overpop, YUZ Museum, Shanghai, China (2016); Post Pop: East Meets West, Saatchi Gallery, London, U.K. (2014); Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, U.S.A. (2013); Rendez-vous 2008, Museum of Contemporary Art Lyon, Lyon, France (2008), etc.


Excerpt from artist’s writings:

Bare-chested, blisters in the back, I lie in my bed, beside his and their bed. They and him, the three of them, covered with a large white and soft towel with the biggest air-conditioner on, lie together, like a piece of meat wrapped in white, gesticulating and fucking in front of me. Probably because my waist was hurting too much, I forgot to watch for the first time this “threesome” …  In the deep night of Handan, my colleague ten years older than me, tired, tells me his past lying in his bed: long time ago he used to be part of an archeological team in Shaanxi, as they entered the Famen Temple, him and the team leader were one behind the other in the pit. When they opened the relics, he said that the team members in the underground palace and himself clearly saw a blinding ray of white light suddenly passing through their body, showing at that moment the skeleton of the team leader. He shouted “oh mother” and fell on the ground. Half believing and half doubting I asked him what kind of light it was, and he said it was just a dazzling white light that disappeared in less than a second, the old colleague said that he should feel very lucky to have been immersed in the light of Buddha; I immediately replied: I also want to go through that once.