Three Questions

Yu'an Huang

Curatorial Writing Fellow
Chisenhale Gallery

Following her placement at Chisenhale Gallery, we asked our current Curatorial Writing Fellow Yu'an Huang to share the concepts and ideas that drive her ongoing research process and practice.


ASYMMETRY: What attracted you to producing a publication for your chosen project proposal?

YU'AN HUANG: KUA 跨 is a multi-medium publication and network exploring transnationalism. I’ll be using my fictional writing as my main research method and a lens through which I can direct and expand my curatorial practice. I hope this publication can help develop a language and connectivity to build a wider platform around post-global discourse.

It has become evident that we are psychologically unprepared for the reality of what globalisation has brought upon us. Whilst technological advancement has led to new forms of freedom, it has also caused a growing number of us to become alienated, existing between borders and contexts that assign us different identities, consequently summoning feelings of isolation and disconnection. This publication aims to investigate the human condition through the prism of transnational experiences.

“This is an installation work I came across at Schirn Kunsthalle in 2012 that had a strong influence on my decision to move to Germany (Doug Aitken, Migration (Empire) 2008)” – Yu’an Huang. Image courtesy of the artist.


A: How has your previous research process informed your ideas/interests for the curatorial fellowship?

YH: In 2016, I migrated to Germany where I started applying a ‘life as research’ method over the course of five years whereby I relived the experience of my fourteen-year-old self, arriving in a new country (which at that time was the UK). This method is similar to situated learning or method acting. As daunting as it had been at times, the process deconstructed the intersectional experience of an Asian body in a European 'imagined community'; a concept developed by political scientist Benedict Anderson who described a nation as a socially constructed community, ‘imagined’ by people who perceive themselves to be part of it. This idea led me to categorise the process into six main themes, the first of which is re-integration.

By exploring social psychology theories, carrying out conversational interviews, journaling and collating material from social situations, I found a way to experience and respond to the generational changes caused by globalisation. This prompted me to set up LOA Gallery in East London in 2018, an art space that showcases artists with cross-cultural backgrounds, forming a network of talent and collective ideas that continually informs and develops my work.

“This is a show I curated called ‘Departed (from a place we’ve never been)’ at LOA Gallery in 2019” – Yu’an Huang. Photo: Yu’an Huang.


A: How do you envision your practice developing during the curatorial fellowship?

YH: During this challenging process, I want to experiment and develop an authorial voice in my fictional writing and arrive at a clearer understanding of my curatorial language. I hope to provide experiences and encounters between the work, art space and the viewers that illustrate how the transnational experience has been lived and shaped by human condition.

From a practical aspect, every conversation I’ve had with members and guests at Chisenhale Gallery and Delfina Foundation has consistently opened my eyes to new future possibilities for the project. The generosity and thoughtfulness of sharing these experiences have allowed for intersectional and interdisciplinary learning. I envisage the next months as a space where I can continue to explore these new prospects, as well as contribute to a community of talent that will enrich future publications with new ideas.

“This is me meeting viewers during an exhibition opening at LOA Gallery” – Yu’an Huang. Photo: Benjamin Weininger.

Yu'an Huang curates situations and makes relational social sculptures influenced by the transnational experience of the post-globalisation era. Her multidisciplinary practice is often presented in exhibition, happenings, consultation, or text format. Having moved to the UK at the age of 14, after receiving a BA (Hons) in Fine Art at Chelsea College and Art Business studies at the Sotheby’s Institute in 2012, she has been working as an independent curator in London, Taipei and Berlin. Yu'an's curatorial projects have been shown at The Guardian's Hall, London (2012), Hackney Wicked Festival, London (2013), National Taiwan Fine Art Museum, Taichung (2015) amongst others. In 2018, she founded LOA Gallery in London, working with artists with transnational backgrounds.

Over the course of her Fellowship at Chisenhale Gallery, Yu’an intends to collate five years' worth of research and produce fiction stories that will be launched as part of KUA 跨, a multi-issue and cross-media publication investigating the human condition through the lens of transnational experiences.