Kang Chunhui, The Hidden Protagonist No.4 隐逸的主角 No.4 , 2024
Observing My Distant Self: Kang Chunhui
May 25 – Aug 18, 2024
INKstudio
Beijing, China

“Observing My Distant Self: Kang Chunhui” marks the artist’s premiere solo exhibition at INKstudio, offering an immersive journey into a crucial juncture in her artistic development. The exhibition unfolds in two distinct sections: “Observing My Distant Self” and “Undeniably Me”.

OBSERVING MY DISTANT SELF

“I found myself in a landscape reminiscent of the Western Regions, particularly the ancient city Loulan that has long since vanished. I stood atop a hill, observing my distant self – undeniably me – I turned to the setting sun.” –Kang Chunhui

Almost an enigmatic prophecy, the vivid childhood dreamscape lingered in the subconscious of visual artist Kang Chunhui (Urumqi, Xinjiang, 1982) for over three decades, until last year, 2023, when the time came for her to revisit its mystique with renewed urgency.

Occupying the entirety of INKstudio’s ground floor, Observing My Distant Self 73°40′E~96°23′E 34°25′N~48°10′N, 2019-2023, is an expansive eight-part multimedia project responding to Kang’s childhood dream in the form of a metaphorical pilgrimage to the Western Regions. Eight 6’6”-long videos place an aspect of Kang’s artistic practice in spatial dialog with a location in Xinjiang selected by Kang for its historical, sociological, and cultural significance. On her pilgrimage Kang makes eight stops: the Kumtag Desert, Lop Nur, Bosten Lake, Tarim Poplar Forest, Kuqa Old Town, Tianshan Grand Canyon, Kizilgaha Beacon, and the Kizil Caves. Lop Nur, for example, is a historically- and archaeologically, multi-layered socio-cultural site situated at the far east shore of the post-glacial Tarim lake. From around 1800 BC until the 9th century, the lake supported a thriving Indo-European Tocharian culture. The Buddhist monk Faxian (337-422) went by the Lop Desert on his way to the Indus valley as did Marco Polo (1254-1324) in his travels along the Silk Road. A former salt marsh, Lop Nur has run dry as a result of dam construction and, over the past hundred years, has been variously a site of large-scale, industrial mining, a contested site of ecological restoration and the military test site where China detonated its first atomic and hydrogen weapons. Throughout her journey, Kang explores the boundaries between place, history, memory, self and creativity, conceiving them not as rigid territories but as expansive areas for exploration, exchange, synthesis and transformation.

Observing My Distant Self: Kang Chunhui
May 25 – Aug 18, 2024
INKstudio
Beijing, China

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