An Impulse to Turn

An Impulse to Turn

Written and Edited by Huang Wenlong, Qian Mengni, Sun Gaorui, Liu Yusi, Zhang Zhihui


This book is the catalog for the exhibition An Impulse to Turn (June 6 to October 8, 2020). An Impulse to Turn pays attention to the younger generation of artists who have chosen to turn back to look at the past or a period of history through their work, and observes the potential of this intentional or unintentional turn. The history that the works in this exhibition turn to is characterized by uncertainty and flexibility. The intention and purpose of this turn is also frequently tacit, even intuitive and nebulous. This “turning” of plural, mysterious directions, stances, and ends prompts us to ask further: should we regard this “turn” as a response to the private memory that was unable to be externalized, or a contestation of and a resistance to the vanishing historical awareness and the alienated facts? When we take our turn alongside these works, reflecting on our contemporary assumptions in interpreting history, we might start choosing our objectives with more intentions, or turning back again more consciously; perhaps we might as well walk backwards, or run back to where we were. Such an impulse is irresistible, luring us to turn. 

This catalog was co-edited by Huang Wenlong, Qian Mengni and Sun Gaorui, members of the Research and Curatorial Department at Inside-Out Art Museum, and two visiting curators Liu Yusi and Zhang Zhihui. The book contains a foreword written by Carol Yinghua Lu, director of the museum, the curatorial statement of the exhibition, four introductions to the four sub-themes, introductions and pictures of 25 exhibited works, and photos of installation views. The book is bound in two volumes, one large and one small, which not only provides a detailed description of the works in the exhibition, but also attempts to reconstruct the curatorial structure of the exhibition. 

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