We May Have Met Before—Chinese Contemporary Photography

Duration: Nov. 06, 2015 - Jan. 17, 2016

Location: Foam Amsterdam

Curators: FengBoyi, Liu Gang, Wang Dong

Artists (in Chinese alphabetical order): Chi Peng, Fan Xi, Feng Yan, RongRong & inri, Wang Ningde, Zhuang Hui/Dan'er


In this contemporary photography project from China, the important works by these six artists are partial and fragmentary. “Fragmentary” might be a way to describe our collective visual and psychological experience in these times, but it is also caused by the chaos of Chinese social transformation. These artists edit their personal contexts through photography, in order to reflect their judgments and ideas. People are accustomed to obtaining information directly from photographs, even to the point that they do not think much about the content of the pictures. These photographs allow people to imagine previous paths and shapes. To a certain extent, these pictures might remold Dutch viewers’ visual experiences of China, especially within a globalized world, thereby giving Chinese images a new imaginative space. From this perspective, we will always understand, but we will differ in how much we understand.

Photography transforms “true” images into a fixed moment that confronts the viewer. Fragmentary images seem disordered, and the chaos of contemporary society makes life uncomfortable.When hidden emotions move us, certain reactions take place and become a true reflection of the real lives of Chinese people. Reality further confuses tangled paths, but photography is more than equal to that task. It looks closely at these open wounds, preserving the floating moments in life, engaging with private psychologies, and magnifying those oft-ignored absurdities. Photography reorganizes reality, and produces another visible truth that is parallel to reality. In China, images become witnesses to history, with two layers of meaning: one is confirmation, the other is falsification. When people are astounded by the power of photography, they always say, “Look! How real!” However, this is not the true power of the genre; it is meaningful because opinionated people suddenly discover how far they are from reality.

Selected Works:

(All photographs are obtained from the Internet.)

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