Hu Jiamin (b. 1983) grew up in Yichang, China by the Yangtze River. After graduating in biology in 2006, he decided to abandon his scientific career to be fully engaged in art. From 2007 to 2009, he worked in an international artist residence in the countryside of Yunnan where he assisted other artists and began developing his own practice. His experiences in rural China profoundly influenced his sense of artists’ social responsibility. In 2010, he returned to the city (Shanghai and Beijing), where his work continued to evolve, enriched by the cultural resources at hand and his encounters with the social complexities of metropolitan life, as he devoted himself to a number of projects in various media (painting, design, writing), both individual and collaborative. Frustrated by the social and political direction taken by China, he left for France in 2016. The censorship and officially-ordered destruction of the mural he painted for the 2017 Shenzhen-Hong Kong Biennale validated his decision to emigrate. He now lives and works in Lyon.
My current work explores the question of memory in the context of the erosion of our relation to the past. In China, the violent negation of the past and the destruction of the environment have deeply affected people’s relation to their individual memory. In such conditions, my relation to collective memory — and thus to my personal memory — can only be reconstructed through a search for universality. As an artist exiled in France, my work also questions Western societies’ relation to their memory in the way it is obstructed by the spectacularization of our time and the desensitization of our gazes. In my eyes, figurative painting becomes a weapon to assert the materiality of reality and the impossibility to remain in the abstraction of timelessness, thus challenging the virtualization of our time and the evasion from collective emotionality. I am interested in the confrontation and the penetration of both abstract-figurative representations and Western-Chinese aesthetics. Following my practice of mural painting, I began to develop a new direction for my work on canvas by painting on large formats and fragmenting the image on several canvases to express the tension between the necessity to embrace reality and the impossibility to escape the artificial construction of our own memory.
Non-Self-Portrait, 2014, oil on panel, 30×24 cm
jiamin.hu (at) gmail.com
Again, Multiplicities of Rewilding, Guemgang Nature Art Biennale, Gongju, Korea
Paysages, visages, duo exhibition, Atelier 77, Lyon, France
De porte en porte..., group exhibition, Galerie La Table d’Art, Lyon, France
Bloom, solo exhibition, Galerie Château Branlant, Cluny, France
La Mélodie des choses, group exhibition, Galerie La Table d’Art, Lyon, France
Cities, Grow in Difference, Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/ Architecture, Shenzhen, China
Echo, duo exhibition, Liang Architecture, Beijing, China
Urban Visions - Asian Metropolis, Reconstruction, Renovation and Design, group exhibition, Beijing Design Week, Beijing, China