M97 Gallery is pleased to announce that M97 artists Adou, LIANG Weizhou, SHAN Feiming, SHAO Wenhuan, and WANG Ningde are featured in the exhibition "CHINA 8 - WORKS IN PROGRESS, PHOTOGRAPHY IN CHINA 2015" at the Folkwang Museum, Essen, Germany.
The exhibition "CHINA 8 - Works in Progress: Photography In China" in the Museum Folkwang furnishes an extensive overview of current Chinese photography in real-time. On show are brand-new works by twenty-four Chinese photographers and artists, which are also being simultaneously exhibited in museums and art galleries in China. This distinguishes the show from all previous surveys of contemporary Chinese photography.
Over the past 10 years, the international art world has been observing the explosive energy unleashed in the field of Chinese art photography. This development has been characterised by vibrant experimentation, new funding structures and expertise, growing public interest and a new generation of students who are keen to engage with the international scene.
The curatorial concept formulated by William A. Ewing and Holly Roussell operates like a wide-angle lens which is not only focusing on only well-known names such as Wang Qingsong, Mo Yi, Jiang Pengyi or Ma Qiush, but also seeking out other outstanding photographers, whose work still has yet to gain international recognition. The exhibition features classical photographers and conceptualists, together with painter- photographers and multimedia artists, who represent quite diverse artistic positions. Their work addresses personal subjects or examines the world in all its chaotic complexity and contradictions.
Criticism of, and resistance to, authority, the rapid social transformation, urban-rural tensions, sexuality and the body, interrogation of their chosen medium and the integration of new communications technologies complete the spectrum of themes embraced by China's current photography scene.
LIANG Weizhou: POST-JIANGNAN
This series of landscape photographs were made in the surrounding provinces in and around Shanghai known as the Jiangnan region south of the Yangtze River. These large-format explorations of the traditionally refined water towns and countryside depict China’s industrialization and post-industrialization developments. Creating unique works in a size and scale traditionally used for works on canvas (150cm x 190cm) the photographs haunt and overpower the viewer with their immense gravity and detail. Liang Weizhou likens his artistic process to that of classical painters sketching scenes in the countryside to later be rendered as works on canvas in the studio.
The Shanghainese painter and professor, best known over the past twenty years for his expressionist and surrealist paintings, has been gaining critical acclaim and exposure for his ongoing body of photography-based works. Working with large-format black and white film, the artist captures stunning layers of detail in each composition and later revives each scene from memory, rendering and inter- preting the elements back to a point where the viewer can both access the reality of the scene as well as contemplate the work on a more synthesized, interpreted level, a visual render- ing positioned literally between the subjective expression of a painting and the powerful realism inherent in the photograph.
Liang Weizhou’s photographic works are a direct extension of his formal roots in painting. Having developed a clear visual language of interweaving his painting aesthetics and techniques with his thirty year practice of photography, the continuing theme and subject matter of his works is the often isolated and existential elements of ordinary life in Shanghai and the surrounding regions. Shanghai having once been the industrial center of China during the artist’s childhood, the opening and reforms post 1980’s, has seen more development and industry move outside the now cosmopolitan urban cen- ters and into what once were bucolic rural towns and villages. Despite the lack of human subjects, Liang Weizhou’s works are profound reflections and documents of the circumstances and realities found in the inner and outer world across Chi- nese society.
ADOU: LEAVES OF GRASS
Titled after the famous poetry collection by Walt Whitman, Adou’s Leaves of Grass is a lyrical exaltation and reordering of the natural world from discarded scraps and chaos. Part painting and part collage, the natural elements are carefully composed by the artist with allusions to Chinese traditional ink painting and calligraphy. Leaves of Grass reflects the artist’s oeuvre of the human subject while embracing the realism of the natural world and the myriad transcendental creations seen in the artist’s new assemblages.
SHAO Wenhuan: DICE, THE SEVENTH SIDE
This series takes the dice as its subject, capturing the brief still moment before it falls. Mostly seen as an instrument in fortune -telling and drawing lots, dice, after being thrown up to the sky, in a transient moment of suspending in the air, assumes a kind of uncertainty that is beyond the six sides that it contains.
Shao Wenhuan was born in Hotan, Xinjiang Province, in 1971. Shao studied at the China Academy of Art, where he earned a degree in Mixed Media and Painting in 2004 and a Master of Fine Arts in Mixed Media in 2010. In addition, Shao studied at the École National des Beaux-Arts de Dijon, France, from 2003 to 2004. He is currently a professor at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou.
Shao’s works have been exhibited widely in China and abroad, including important exhibitions at the Beijing Photo Biennial (2013), the First Biennial of Contemporary Art in Italy (2012), the Wuhan Art Museum (2014), and the Lucerne Art Museum (2011), among others. His works form part of prestigious collections of Chinese contemporary art around the world, including the Uli Sigg collection.
SHAN Feiming: JUNGLE
Jungle (2010-2013) is a seven-meter long, five-panel installation photographed over the course of several months in the mountains of Southern Yunnan. Having just moved back to China after finishing his art studies in Germany and in the crossroads of a fresh new start, Shan confronts the viewer with the expansive darkness of an impenetrable forest. Much like the future, that spread of dark jungle is hiding infinite possibilities, and may as well be breeding countless unknown dangers.
Shan Feiming was born in Zhejiang province in 1978 and is a graduate of the Beijing Central Academy of Fine Art. He was influenced by the photographs of the German film director Wim Wenders, and used the proceeds of a scholarship from the academy to buy his first camera. He later completed photography studies at the Brunswick Art Institute in Germany. In 2014, he received The New Generation award for his "Waking from Hibernation" series in the annual Modern Weekly Photography Awards. He currently lives and works in Hangzhou.
WANG Ningde: FORM OF LIGHT
Since graduating from the Luxun Fine Arts Academy, Wang Ningde’s artistic practice has consistently set out to explore the core fundamental elements of photography: light, paper, materials, image and the nature of "writing with light". In Form Of Light Wang Ningde goes a step further to deconstruct the original image form and representation to later reconstruct it for the viewer as an abstract and inverted photographic mirage.
Wang Ningde started working on the Form Of Light series 2 years ago, following his own intellectual curiosity about language and about photography as a means of expression. With the purpose of distilling the essence of the image, Wang Ningde employs photographs of simple images (trees, clouds, a dog) to then subject their paper representation to a meticulous process of measuring, cutting and installing in order to filter and project said image through light and shadow.
Wang Ningde was born in 1972 in Liaoning province and graduated from the photography department of the Lu Xun Academy of Art in 1995. After graduating, he moved to southern China where he worked for a decade as a photojournalist during the period of China's explosive economic and cultural transformation. Departing from documentary photography, Wang returned to his northern hometown to began his Some Days series, which he worked on between 1999 and 2009. With his striking black and white photographs, the artist has been able to capture the tension between an ever-changing contemporary China and the always-present memory of the Cultural Revolution. As an artist who works not only in traditional photography but also more recently in video and installation artwork, Wang Ningde attempts to decipher and answer the unanswerable, peeling back the layers of memory and thesocial facade, to probe and expose the more complicated and perhaps disconcerting issues of a personal past or humanity's collective psyche. He was recently awarded the "Special Contribution Award" and "Art Photogaphy Award" from Modern Media Group in Paris Photo Shanghai (2014). Wang Ningde lives and works in Beijing. Adou (b. 1973, Mianyang, Sichuan Province) graduated from the of Sichuan Aba Normal College in 1995 In 2007 Adou received an Honorable Mention at the World’s 100 Young Photographers KLM Paul Huf Award in the Netherlands. Adou’s photographs have been shown throughout Asia, Europe and (2009) and a Retrospective Exhibition in Kyoto (2007).