Chambers Fine Art is pleased to announce the opening on November 8, 2007 of The Rock Touring Around Great Britain by
He Yunchang. Although his work has been seen in group exhibitions, this
will be the first solo exhibition in the United States of an artist who
is now recognized as China’s leading performance artist. Born in
Yunnan, China in 1967, he graduated from the Art Institute of Yunnan in
1991 and currently lives and works in Beijing.
most of the artists who practiced performance art in the 1990s have
moved on to other media, He Yunchang has continued to conceive
increasingly extreme performances in which physical endurance is pushed
to the extreme. In his introduction to the catalogue Andrew Brewerton
points out that each work is preceded by “protracted deliberation – two
years being by no means an uncommon gestation period for a fully
rendered and irreducible idea.” Memorable examples in the last decade
include Wrestling: One and One Hundred, 2001, in which the artist wrestled with one hundred persons in a row; Eyesight Test, 2003, in which he fixed his eyes on a 10,000w light for 60 minutes and Casting,
2004 in which he was cemented into a concrete block for 24 hours.
Having been witnessed by few people, these challenging performances are
preserved in memorable sequences of photographs.
The Rock Touring Around Great Britain,
the focus of the current exhibition, involved a walking
circumambulation of Great Britain from September 23, 2006 to June 14,
2007. Starting from the hamlet of Rock, Northumberland, the artist
walked to the nearby town of Boulmer where he selected a rock which he
then carried counterclockwise until he returned it to the precise
location from which it was taken. The photographs that follow the
artist on his journey are strikingly beautiful in their sensitive
portrayal of the constantly changing patterns of English weather but as
he commented at the time the work was primarily “an attempt to
represent the iron will of an individual and the living conditions of
his being with simple and pure methods.” Accompanying the photographs
is a series of oil paintings based on the journey, He Yunchang’s return
to the medium in which he graduated in 1991.