b.1971  Wuhan, Hubei, China


He An lives and works in Beijing. He An is part of an emerging generation of artists born after China’s Cultural Revolution who are making work in the midst of an enormous industrial expansion. His work largely deals with the physical and psychological atmosphere of China’s growing cities, especially the signs, lights, and language that populate the built environment. 

His light sculptures are made up of characters stolen – with the complicity of the local mafia – from the signs that light up his native city of Wuhan. Using these stolen ideograms, which are often damaged, the artist recreates the names of people who are dear to him. He An's work is autobiographic and obsessive, straddling the line between illegality and investigation and exploring the prohibitions and taboos of contemporary Chinese culture.

He An broke into contemporary culture in 2000 with the statement “I miss you, please contact me” in his work of the same title. The work combined public space with private desire, contemporary discourse with unmediated human communication. It cracked open a crevice where people could peer beyond their jobs, relationships, and commercial urban stress to see something strange but beautifully simple. It was emotional without strings attached, and consequently people contacted him from all over China. The deceptive simplicity of this work, its romantic theatricality, plus its desire to reach between the public and private has defined He An’s practice even since.

His work was featured in the Shanghai Biennale (2006); he also shows at Leo Xu Projects (Shanghai), Pace Beijing, Galerie Daniel Templon (Paris and Brussels), and White Rabbit Gallery (Sydney).

He An, Jade Branch, installation, LED Li

Jade Branch

Curator: Lee Ambrozy

12.22,2018 - 02.20, 2019

Beijing 2nd Space



4.12 - 5.10, 2015




7.16 - 8.16, 2011


Press / News

HE AN | I am Curious

(A Fragmented Background to Three Projects by He An – I am Curious Yellow I am Curious Blue, The Wind Light as a Thief, and A Mole on Each Breast and Another on the Shoulder)


July 2011 is a busy month for He An. Three separate exhibitions in the space of three weeks, opening in quick succession at different locations in Beijing. The first project, The Wind Light as a Thief, opens at Arrow Factory art space located in a narrow hutong alley near the Confucius Temple. He An has stuffed a real street lamp into its tiny 3x5x2.5m space by folding it up like a giant in a shoe box, with only its head sticking back out into the street where it belongs. The giant lamp has a switch that is accessible to anyone passing by, who can switch it on and off at will. This switch is connected not only to this lamp, but also to a light in a shop 500 metres away and another a light in a quiet street next to a residential building. Each light’s switch controls all three lights, resulting in a three-way conversation between people who cannot see or know each other’s presence.

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Summertime is downtime for the gallery system. There are bound to be a few inconsequential group shows, while many galleries just take a vacation, biding time before autumn. Sensing opportunity, He An planned for three separate solo shows to open in Beijing in July. And with this, the strung-out summer period was suddenly injected with a burst of enthusiasm. But is this enthusiasm a case of audience curiosity towards relay-style exhibitions, or just a part of the ripple effect caused by heavy-hitting galleries?

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