Spring Exhibition | Hao Jingban: Silent Speech
OCAT Xi’an is delighted to host Hao Jingban’s solo exhibition “Silent Speech”, which focuses on Hao Jingban’s exploration of history and reality, through use of various images and language as reveled in three major video works related to research projects she has carried out in recent years.
The close intertwining of history and reality across several decades of time lends Hao Jingban’s work charm and allure, especially for the narration of stories through images. The artist has an acute eye for observation, and for detail, which she brings to specific archival research projects, such as An Afternoon Ball (2013). This evolved from a four-year project carried out between 2012 and 2016, as an investigation into ballroom dancing in Beijing as a social phenomenon during early 1950s and the late 1970s, either side of the Cultural Revolution, during which time the practice was banned. In An Afternoon Ball, Hao Jingban captures the daily dance scene using tightly controlled framing. The work weaves the personal history and memory of this time and its ethos by recording the space of the ballroom, and the viewpoints of a narrator.
From Nanhu Park to Hongqi Street (2018) is one part of Hao Jingban’s latest film project, focused on the Manchukuo Film Association (later known as the Changchun Film Studio). Those who once experienced the history of the Manchukuo Film Association lived in the complex historical contradictions between China and Japan. Their positions were defined actively or passively to serve the changing ideology and political needs. Through her research into historical materials, together with personal interviews with former members, and on-the-spot investigation, Hao Jingban interlaces the story of the former Manchuria with present-day Changchun. When ideology, like cultural heritage, is abandoned by history, how will the lives and politics of the individual participants of that history be viewed? “Language” is the starting point of Hao Jingban’s attempt to discover the relationship between history and reality. In the face of the obstacles to “reality” caused by historical contradictions, both those who played a part in this history, as well as those latter-day observers are silenced by the story that images narrate.
Different from extended research projects into subjects like “Beijing Ballroom” and “Manchukuo Film Project”, Slow motion (2018) is Hao Jingban’s swift response to social reality. In the winter of 2017, residents at the lower end of Beijing’s social strata were ejected from the capital. Hao entered the scene directly, allowing it to slowly unfold in the slow-motion playback of her recording. “The moments you cannot see are slowed down generating greater impact than you imagine.” The “fast” reality and the “slow” image constitute a strong contradiction, similar to individual aphasia in the real environment. Conclusions cannot be drawn immediately. The value of what is preserved here will gain significance through time.
About the Artist
Born 1985 in Shanxi Province, Hao Jingban completed a BA in Media and Communication from Goldsmiths College in 2007, and a MA in Film Studies from University of London in 2010. In 2016, Hao won the Huayu Youth Award Grand Jury Prize in Art Sanya 2016. In 2017, she won the Young Artist of the Year award at the 11th Award of Art China, and the International Critics’ Prize at the 63rd Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen. Hao currently lives and works in Beijing.
About the Curator
Leo Li Chen is a curator and researcher based in Beijing. Chen previously worked in OCAT Shenzhen as curatorial assistant, and in Hong Kong’s City University as a research associate. His main research focuses on spatial and aesthetic politics, geopolitics, performance and moving image. He was the curator of Adrift(OCAT Shenzhen, 2016), That Has Been and Maybe Again(Para Site, Hong Kong, 2016), After Party: Collective Dance and Individual Gymnastics(Blindspot Gallery, Hong Kong, 2017), and Today Could Have Been a Happy Day(Taikang Space, Beijing, 2018). Chen is a long-term contributing writer for Artforum China, Leap, The Art Newspaper Chinaand Art World.