Exhibition commemorates revered art critic and curator

Huang ZhuanOCAT Shenzhen

Visitors at the exhibition.

A photograph of performance art “December 12, 2001” held by Gu Dexin at He Xiangning Art Museum in 2011. Photos by Cao Zhen

“External Tibia” (1999) by Feng Feng.

A woodcut by Fang Lijun.

“Under 1.5 Tons” (2014) by Jiang Jie.

Artworks ranging from sculptures, videos to installations are on display at OCAT Shenzhen in memory of Huang Zhuan, renowned Chinese art historian, critic and curator, executive director of OCAT Shenzhen and OCAT Institute, and professor of Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts. Huang passed away at the age of 58 in Guangzhou last April, after losing a battle with cancer.

Initiated by Huang’s artist friends, the exhibition “Metamorphosis” features contemporary artworks selected from past exhibitions curated by Huang, plus a few new works. The title is borrowed from “Death is merely metamorphosis,” the last sentence of Huang’s will.

“Holding this exhibition is the most familiar way for us, as artists, to commemorate our old friend Huang Zhuan. We brought together the artists who had worked with him on exhibitions over the past 30 years. This unconventional exhibition will serve as a memorial and the curator will be Huang Zhuan,” the exhibition initiators, Wang Guangyi, Zhang Xiaogang, Sui Jianguo and Wang Youshen, said in a joint statement.

A well-known face in the Chinese contemporary art scene, Huang was revered for his thought-provoking art criticism articles and books and well-established exhibitions. Having studied history and Chinese art history, Huang worked in the editorial team of Art Trends magazine from 1985 to 1987 and began curating contemporary art exhibitions in the 1990s, including the first Guangzhou Biennial in 1992.

Huang emphasized the importance of philosophy and critical thinking when understanding contemporary Chinese art. In his eyes, art critics should not only examine artworks but also the condition and system of art creation and he believed this exists in the sophisticated relations between social systems, commercial logic and mass media.

For most of his life, Huang played a key role in the development of contemporary Chinese art and pushed Shenzhen art organizations to engage in contemporary art. He was the researcher and curator of He Xiangning Art Museum in 1997 and the director of OCT Contemporary Art Terminal as well as a member of the Artistic Advisory Committee of He Xiangning Art Museum in 2005. In 2012, Huang was appointed as the executive director of OCAT Shenzhen and OCAT Institute. In Shenzhen, he curated a series of significant workshops, seminars and lectures.

“Huang Zhuan strove to turn contemporary art into a critical cultural force. ... The exhibition looks back on how this serious art historian pondered the questions of contemporary art and how his unique curatorial history took shape,” said OCAT in a statement.

The 18 artists who are showcasing their works at the “Metamorphosis” exhibition are Wang Guangyi, Wang Youshen, Wang Luyan, Fang Lijun, Feng Feng, Lu Hao, Zhu Jia, Xiang Jing, Wang Jianwei, Zhang Xiaogang, Zhang Chunyang, Jiang Jie, Gu Dexin, Xu Tan, Zhan Wang, Sui Jianguo, Zeng Hao and Wei Guangqing. Many were prominent in the “New Art Movement” that started in China in the 1980s and are highly sought-after contemporary artists.

Dates: Until June 4

Hours: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., closed Mondays

Venue: OCAT Shenzhen, South Area, OCT-LOFT, Nanshan District (南山区华侨城创意园南区OCAT深圳馆)

Metro: Line 1, Qiaocheng East Station (侨城东站), Exit A




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