By Lu Tanrou Source:Global Times Published: 2014-2-17 19:33:01

Since the 1980s, China has witnessed great changes to its landscape during the rapid process of urbanization and modernization. Photographers from different generations have recorded these changes from their unique perspectives. For the ongoing group exhibition Landscapes, French curator Claire Crozel of Magda Danysz Gallery selected works from five leading figures of contemporary Chinese photography: Mo Yi, Zhang Xiao, Yang Yongliang, Peikwen Cheng and Fu Yu.

"The exhibition reveals how the effects of China's uncontrolled urbanization and its infernal rhythm of expansion are both core concerns for today's contemporary artists. Through their real or dreamed landscapes, represented in the most objective or the most absurd way, these photographers represent the vibrancy of China's photographic scene from the 1980s to today," Crozel told the Global Times.

Artworks on show at the exhibition Photos: Courtesy of Magda Danysz Gallery

For over 30 years, Mo Yi has chosen urban street life as the subject matter of his work, capturing bold and disturbing images of anonymous passers-by. "While the scenes might seem minor at first glance, these photographs have gained historical importance throughout the years as they have witnessed the transformation of people's lives and their environment," Crozel said.

Artworks on show at the exhibition Photos: Courtesy of Magda Danysz Gallery

Similar to Mo's approach, Zhang Xiao (born in 1981) presents his Coastline series, in which he focuses on China's human landscapes. Zhang chose to photograph the coastline, its gripping effects of mass tourism and rural development, as a symbol of China's rapid transformations. "In front of his photographs, we are astounded by the crowds of Chinese tourists trying to gain access to the resorts and filling up the entire space of his works. It immediately reminds us of the massive migration movements during the Spring Festival," Crozel explained. Zhang strives to record reality, to capture a specific moment in time and remain as objective as possible. He uses a palette of delicate pastel and acidic colors, reminiscent of Italian photographer Massimo Vitali's works that bring his photographs to life.

In a more ethereal and poetic spirit, Yang Yongliang and Peikwen Cheng invite us into their own worlds, hovering somewhere between dream and reality. Cheng presents the Lost and Found series, produced over the past 13 years during Burning Man festivals. "He shows deserted landscapes in which fantasy creatures give free reign to their imagination and their strangest inventions. You can see them creating dummy rockets, wandering through flower installations and cycling under absurd lamp sculptures," Crozel added.

Artworks on show at the exhibition Photos: Courtesy of Magda Danysz Gallery

Also blurring the line between dream and reality, Yang sets his urban landscapes in traditional bowls. Shanghai-born Yang is now one of the most famous photographers in China. In his A Bowl of Taipei series, he combines ironic observation with meticulously rendered representations of modern Chinese landscapes.

Artworks on show at the exhibition Photos: Courtesy of Magda Danysz Gallery


Date: Until February 28, 11 am to 6 pm (closed on Mondays)

Venue: Magda Danysz Gallery

Magda Danysz 画廊

Address: 188 Linqing Road 临青路188号

Admission: Free

Call 186-1615-1670 for details

Posted in: Metro Shanghai

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