Announcement | Selected Project of “2018 Research-Based Curatorial Project”

The OCAT Institute officially announces the winning entry for the "2018 Research-Based Curatorial Project" – “Picturing Histories: Historical Narrative in Contemporary Chinese Photography” by He Yi’ning.


The “research-based exhibition” is a type of art exhibition with specific characteristics and functions. As an institution dedicated to both art research and exhibition, the OCAT Institute has launched the “research-based exhibition” as an essential part of its annual programs starting this year. It aim is to promote the integration of art and scholarship, to encourage curatorial research and to provide scholars and artists in the field of contemporary Chinese art a platform to present in their research in a holistic form. In 2018, our inaugural open call attracted a total of eighteen complete proposals within a three-month period. Based on the project’s emphasis on research-based exhibition, five projects were shortlisted after an initial review by the OCAT Institute panel led by Executive Director Professor Wu Hung. The huge diversity in content and methodology reflects the intellect and energy of Chinese contemporary art curatorship. The five selected programs were publicly displayed in the OCAT Institute from September 7 to November 30, 2018, in order to facilitate the exchange of ideas among outstanding scholars and curators.


The “research-based exhibition” treats artworks, artists, or artistic phenomena as objects for date collecting and analytical interpretation. ,subsequently transforming the results of such research  into visual and spatial presentations. Such exhibitions thus emphasize accuracy of content , clarity of concepts,  rigor in methods, and logic of display. It can be seen as an intersection of art and scholarship: the audience’s perception and understanding of the exhibition result from the hard work of the curator/researcher.


During the project exhibition, OCAT Institute organized a workshop where Executive Director Wu Hung and Professor W.J.T. Mitchell held dialogue sessions with the five groups of shortlisted curator. Based on the presentations of their respective proposals, combined with the opinions of the judges and the public audience who were present, “Picturing Histories: Historical Narrative in Contemporary Chinese Photography” by He Yi’ning was awarded the top honor. This project will be exhibited at the OCAT Institute in March 2019.


"Picturing Histories: Historical Narrative in Contemporary Chinese Photography" focuses on seven cases of Chinese contemporary photography. By analyzing the use of this medium in historical narratives, the project tries to understand this trend, examine different artists’ strategies, and explore the unique perspectives that photography could offer.


 “2019 Research-Based Curatorial Project” is about to begin. The OCAT Institute looks forward to more curatorial proposals with profound research insights and vivid spatial narratives.