Photography exhibit transcends visual language

Tan Weiyun
A joint photography exhibition of 12 artists and entrepreneurs is in its full swing at the Shanghai Culture and Art Hall.
Tan Weiyun

A joint photography exhibition of 12 artists and entrepreneurs is in its full swing at the Shanghai Culture and Art Hall.

Themed “Transmutation,” the show explores the possibilities of presenting traditional images on varied materials, such as silk, metal, porcelain, bricks, water-colored paper and plaster.

“It shows the complexity of the work when traditional images get integrated into modern technology,” said Lin Lu, photography critic and professor from Shanghai Normal University.

“The materials and textures you have seen are no longer what they are supposed to be. In another word, the images and the materials have become a whole, which cannot be separated.

“The way they are presented is pioneering, avant-garde, with the ambition to break the siege of traditional visual language,” Lin said.

The artwork “City’s Surface” by the visual artist and collector Shen Zhonghai is a jigsaw puzzle made of 240 architectural images of Shanghai presented on 240 metal pieces, which might suggest the city has been turned into a concrete jungle, covered with harsh metals as its skin.

“Wheels” by Zhang Yue is a wall laid with 200 quartz bricks, each capturing different city scenes on translucent material with an ambiguous mindset, while the photo series “Tucked Inwards and Opened up Outwards” by Zhuo Fumin, inspired by Chinese calligraphy, shows the photographer’s philosophical reflection on unity of opposites.

Visual artist Xu Haifeng presents his “Empty Room” made up of 180 small silvery aluminum-alloy plates.

Each plate is printed with old stuff, such as a chair, cup, basket or radio, all collected by the photographer, who has ventured into empty, abandoned houses to take pictures over the years.

“I use photography to fight against forgetting. All the stuff I’ve pictured was thrown away as trash when people left a house. The city is changing and so is our home,” Xu said. “My representation of this old stuff gives us a chance to scrutinize the stuff and ourselves once again.”

The series “One World” by Shi Derong is made up of hundreds of athletes and coaches’ portraits he photographed during the Special Olympics over the past 29 years.

Different skin colors from different races with different faces come into one picture, breaking the barriers of countries, politics and religions with mutual respect, support and understanding.

The adoption of the blockchain technology is another highlight of the exhibition. It gives each piece a digital ID card, which guarantees a uniqueness of the copyright and clarifies the copyright holder by the date and location of the artist’s autograph.

Photography exhibit transcends visual language
Ti Gong

“City Colors” by Zhang Yue

Exhibition info

Dates: Through March 30, 9am-4pm
Venue: Shanghai Culture and Art Hall
Address: Floor 1-2, 200 Yan’an Road W.

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