Han Mengyun (b. 1989, Wuhan) is a visual artist, comparatist, multilingual writer and a mother. She is currently based in London.
Her practice addresses the decolonisation of the phenomena of Eurasian transcultural hybridisations that occurred across vast landscapes of time and space from the dominative mediation of the Western conceptual gaze. She was initially trained in the Western tradition of oil painting but diverted from the singular viewpoint of art production towards the complexity of historical ties in the profoundly intercultural context of the continent’s history and present. The broad focus of her research covers interdisciplinary manifestations of cultural dialogue and polyvocal aesthetic conversation — from religion, philosophy, and mythologies to trade, vernacular craftsmanship, and bookmaking. Recently, she has been working on Indian and Persian manuscript traditions and woodblock printing in China and Japan.
The subjects of intersectionality and legacies of imperialism are another significant recurring trope in her practice. She mediates the relationship between personal and collective from her experience as a female subaltern and emerging notions of alternative plateaus of solidarity in the struggle for visibility and just access to shaping the planetary cultural discourse. The ruptures of neoliberal globalisation, cultural hegemony and inter-contextual conflicts reflect the multimedia character of her work, ranging from painting and conceptual installation to filmmaking and writing. As a transdisciplinary inquirer, Han Mengyun challenges the Aristotelian hierarchisation of knowledge, ritual and aesthetics, highlighting the importance of rethinking the conceptual boundaries between known, to be learned and unknowable in the emerging post-Western dominated world. Her work raises the diachronic question of the potentiality of inter-faith, inter-racial and multi-lingual pan-Asianiasm.
Han Mengyun received BA in Studio Art from Bard College and has pursued the study of Sanskrit at various institutions such as Kyoto University before she completed her MFA at the University of Oxford with a research focus on Classical Indology and Indian aesthetic theories. Her recent exhibitions include "Night" (ISA Gallery, Shanghai, China, 2022); "The Glass Bead Game" (ShanghART Gallery booth, Art Basel, Switzerland, 2022); "Splinters of Jade" (A Thousand Plateaus Art Space, Chengdu, China, 2019); "In Between Island" (Today Art Museum, Beijing, China, 2013). Recent group exhibitions include "Painting Unsettled" (UCCA Edge, Shanghai, China, 2023); "Chinese Contemporary Art from the Uli Sigg Collection" (SONGEUN, Seoul, Korea, 2023); "A Place for Concealment" (Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing, China, 2022); "The Dwelling Place of the Other in Me" (Power Station of Art, Shanghai, China, 2021); and the Diriyah Biennale (Saudi Arabia, 2021) etc.