Headlands Center for the Arts

Kunlin He

california | visual
Affiliate Program 2017—2018
Graduate Fellowship Program 2016, San Francisco Art Institute

Artist Statement

My creation is influenced mainly by situationism and psycho-geography. My materials are collected from walking in urban areas, suburbs, and other specific spaces. I combine traditional cultures and techniques, popular films and novels, word-of-mouth fairy tales, and daily necessities or dietary habits into multimedia paintings, moving images, and prints, by means of nonlinear narrative techniques. For example, in my practice, I hike and play in the city and landscape like an urban wanderer or ancient Chinese literati painters, exploring and describing the subconscious imagination and its trace. I plan to introduce a special kind of Chinese landscape painting brushstroke called “Cunfa.” In Chinese landscape painting, Cunfa not only depicts the physiognomy of rocks, but also the expression of the personal characteristics of the artist. Cunfa could also be interpreted as a trace of emotion. In the actual creation, I will refine some of the classic methods of the Cunfa expression, such as repetition, trace, and anthropomorphism and then bind those visual languages together to depict human emotions of everyday life in different environments, such as the topophilia of landscape, fear of metropolis, or shame of boundary.

While At Headlands

The series “Every Bush and Tree Looks like an Enemy”(草⽊木皆兵), was completed during my time as a Grad Fellow at Headlands. The name of the title is a Chinese idiom, which describes the fear of the fleeting side caused by mistaking the bushes and trees as enemy soldier in a famous battle in Chinese history. The changing of local landscape caused by establishing the 16’’ caliber cannons, which were built for the purpose of defending the fictional large warships from Japan during the World War II in the Marin Headlands, is applied as the background for the work. I combine understandings of the national community and the famous Chinese idiom that applies to this work, which reflects the collective fear arising from global nationalism, through the language of painting, video, and installation.

Selected Video

Every Bush and Tree Looks like an Enemy (Video Installation) from Kunlin He on Vimeo.

Selected Works

Personal Website