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Exhibition shows time past to present

Updated: 2023-09-26 08:06 ( CHINA DAILY )
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Kunqu Opera was added to the UCCA gala in 2018 by He Wei, who has committed himself to bringing out the charm of traditional cultural icons through modern art and design. CHINA DAILY

"We integrated them into a poetic composition that delivers a vivid portrayal of Beijing's Xicheng district," says He, who was born in the area.

"I'm very familiar with everything here. Through artistic expression, the works are not just a simple show of a bus route but a story that blends with nature and offers rich narratives," he says, adding that he strives to give a sense of the past and the present coexisting.

Handicraft projects and VR experience are also put in place for visitors to immerse themselves in intangible cultural heritage related to the Year of the Rabbit this year, such as the Lord Rabbit.

"We made a virtual moon palace in the form of digital art to offer a contemporary interpretation of the ancient capital's moon-worshipping ceremony, uncovering the auspicious symbolism behind the zodiac sign for the New Year celebration," He says.

Tian Lei, co-host of the exhibition, says Chinese traditional culture is profound and extensive, and the power of art should be used to integrate it into everyday life in innovative ways.

"The creative team led by He for this project uses digital technology and real-world construction to create a new form of art exhibition, and they have delivered innovations to cultural communication methods that enable young people to experience the unique charm of traditional culture," Tian says.

Every detail in the space was carefully arranged in an order that keeps visitors engaged, which is something He has been striving for in his art career.

Now in his 30s, he studied environmental art in the category of landscape architecture at the Academy of Arts and Design, Tsinghua University, from 2005 to 2009.

"That was when I started to pay attention to nature and the environment, as well as their relation with people and other living creatures," He says.

He went on to pursue virtual museum studies for his master's degree at the academy for the following three years, an experience that he says enhanced his understanding of the importance of the relationship between people and space.

"You have to know it, so you can come up with something that makes more sense for a certain topic," he says.

As he continued to make inroads in the art field at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in the United States from 2012-14, He got more insight into social practices in a different setting that includes galas and parties.

"I got to see how people behave on such occasions, and received more training about how to create spaces using information," he says.

His bold experimentation during school years saw him become a member of the art and science division of the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York in 2015.

"From that point on, my research and practice began to focus on the differences and expressions of content between Eastern and Western cultures," he says.

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