中文 / English

Seduced and abandoned - Ye Yongqing

This exhibition is about past and present stories and all the changes undergone by society in the meanwhile. The artist included in the exhibition use photography as a means to explore the quite unpredictable “epochal destiny” of Chinese society, putting forth their views about epochal changes and the social phenomena derived from the passing of time and the subsequent social ups and downs. Perhaps it is on the basis of the changes affecting politics, economy and industry that we are able to understand a phenomenon or a place. For example, we are familiar with the fact that in some major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, New Delhi, Bombay, New York and Moscow changes take place at the same time, cities undergo the same abrupt growth, increase in wealth while enlarging themselves. On the other side of the coin: as a consequence of globalization a much larger number of cities are declining, disappearing, and are being affected by unemployment and poverty, as well as a huge gap between rich and poor. All these phenomena which now seem extremely confused and disordered, were taken in great consideration in the past having played a central role in the “stage of history”. Nowadays it is quite hard even to imagine that there is a huge gap in terms of time and space between fringe areas and the “developed world”. The aim of the eight photographers in this exhibition is to let us face this gap,

The ghosts which fill the vestige of history sway in front of us, sneaking into our conscience. They are captured in a continuous swaying between familiarity and estrangement, and call upon viewers with indistinct moans. If we think about the relationship between familiarity and estrangement we cannot do anything but reconsider the obscure depths of the passing of time. The way we look at ourselves throughout time, all the phenomena, as well as history, are all put aside despite what happens to them during their process of accumulation.

During the last years, Chen Jiagang has traveled several times to factories and  mines,  small villages in the mountains,  and in the valleys of Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan. He portrayed them with the help of professional photographic equipment. In particular, these three provinces which in the past because of national politics hold a strategic place and surged with activities now undergo a completely different situation. Trained as an architectural designer, Chen regards memories as the most authentic source in human life, and images are the means to preserve these memories. So his works apart from being filled with intense social and political issues, and apart from exploring reality through the use of images caught from different perspectives, are also gradually taking the distance from being a mere explanation of history. This enables him to express his aesthetic needs on the basis of his personal experience. When he takes photos, he often waits till the sun sets and only after the clouds have emitted their last rays of light and warmth spreading it over the deserted and abandoned spaces,  he presses the camera shutter. For example, the girl portrayed in one of his works pacing back and forth feels reluctant to leave the place she finds herself, seems to sink into the darkness and to disappear in it. The appearance of such a vibrating creature, even as she seems as subtle as a sigh, brings back life to the remaining walls, and to the majestic ruins filled with traces of the past. The corner store now is deserted, the road leading to it is used as a football field...places visited in the past are not visited anymore today, so the land looks forlorn, and the bitter songs you can hear sound more like a mournful elegy. The artist, emitting a sound without words, fixes a moment which otherwise would be forgotten in history, a moment in which people and space observe each other and their silence is like a sink filled with indignation.

中文 / English