Blindspot Gallery is proud to participate in “PARIS PHOTO 2016” that takes place in Grand Palais, Paris, on the 10-13 November 2016. We will present the works of three Chinese artists: Jiang Pengyi, Liu Zheng and Zhang Hai’er. The featured works, iconic and monumental each in its own way, represents major moments of advancement and innovation in the history of experimental photography in China.
One of the most inventive and progressive contemporary Chinese artists, Jiang Pengyi’s artistic evolution has taken him from digital photography to experimentation with the photographic material itself. Premiering at PARIS PHOTO 2016, his newest series Void is an extension of the Intimacy series, in which the artist utilizes a cameraless analogue technique on film photography. In the intimate void of the darkroom, the artist choreographed the interaction between a light-absorbing and light-emitting fluorescent paper, and a light-sensitive photographic film. Creating unpredictable and abstract images in strokes of accidental beauty, Jiang described, “I am painting with light, through photography.”
Liu Zheng’s monumental series The Chinese is an ambitious project in a set of 180 photographs, which spanned over eight years from 1994 to 2002, covering many miles of Chinese countryside amidst an era of rapid urbanization, when traditional identities often disappeared without a trace. Part of the New Documentary movement in the 1990s, Liu attempted to construct a broader cultural narrative by capturing the universal states of many marginalized subjects, including transvestites, dying elderly, homeless and the mentally disabled. The Chinese has only been offered and procured as a whole (180 works altogether); this edition (18/20) is the only exception, an exclusive opportunity to select and collect the works in the series individually.
Although both Liu Zheng and Zhang Hai’er are portraitist, Liu discovers the one in the many, while Zhang focuses on the many in the one. In Bad Girls, Zhang enumerates the many iterations of the self-fashioning and self-exposition of identities by telescoping into the one subject of femininity and womanhood. In his portraits of Guangzhou prostitutes, socialites and ordinary women, half-undressed subjects in an interior setting stare provocatively at the camera, engaging the viewer and exposing the at times performative presence of the photographer. Selected works from this series (four of them the very original prints) were exhibited in Les Rencontres internationales de la photographie d’Arles in 1988, a much-historicized moment of the first-ever Chinese participation in this international photography festival.