Hong Hao, Ma Hongjie, Jin Jiangbo, Yao Lu, Chi Peng, Wang Quingsong, Mu Chen & Shao Yingong, Huang Yan, Qu Yan & Bai Yilou:
Never Equal Distance to the Moon. Power, Politics, and the Environment
Gallery Faurschou Copenhagen
19 November 2009 – 23 January 2010
FAURSCHOU CPH currently presents an exhibition with Chinese contemporary artists, who have made their mark on photography over the past years.
The show is curated by Bjørn Follevaag, Norway, in collaboration with his colleague in Beijing, Wang Baoju, and the exhibition addresses questions of our environment, social responsibility and power structures in our globalised world.
The exhibition title Never Equal Distance to the Moon takes its point of departure in the fact that our countries around the globe stand far apart as regards geography, financial status, politics, history and culture. Yet, today we are all closely connected by the multiple processes of globalisation being it of financial, economic, political or cultural nature. Particularly the development within telecommunication, the internet, and new global means of production has developed a new global network.
Economic globalisation has generated growth in areas that were previously at the periphery of the global economy, but this growth has also had negative consequences.. Our political and economic policies seem to be based on bottom line rather than sustainability, and there is a range of environmental, social and ethical downsides to globalisation being discussed internationally these years.
From the Western world we are moving capital and production for our domestic market to factories in Asia, and also importing our basic commodities from the other side of the globe, and even exporting our hazardous waste back.
Images of contemporary China
One of the countries with the strongest economic growth is China. The new communist capitalism has made 120 million Chinese citizens a new middle class.
The works in the exhibition focus on images of contemporary China - either through documentary, staged or manipulated photography. Realism is the general characteristic and so is the social criticism of the power structures and economic processes that have changed the Chinese society significantly over the past decades.
China is presented as a country where the individual is put in the shadow of the mass and where Tradition clash with Modernity. We are confronted with people who have been thrown out of their homes and into the streets with all their personal belongings as districts are torn down in the name of development. The symbols of communism now seem empty of meaning when they are presented to us in deserted premises in provincial towns. We see images of China as a country that has not taken care of the environmental aspects and consequences of the enormous growth in production, and we are shown images of deserted mega factories after the Western production companies left the country when the recession set in. One photograph also refers to the fact that it is now the Chinese who is the teacher behind the desk whom the rest of the world has to follow.
Critical Chinese art
Chinese contemporary art has since the late 1980’s tended to criticise the socio-economic and political conditions, often expressed in a predominantly Western idiom. Chinese art with a social critique has become an object of financial investment, and with international intuitions and collectors on waiting lists to buy these.
With this exhibition the curatorial focus has been on photography. Photography can be used to document and communicate current events and history as it unfold, weather it is as a social critique, with humour or as a poetic vision.
A catalogue for the exhibition is available.
The exhibition has been supported by Arts Council Norway and Institusjonen Fritt Ord.
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