All posts tagged: China

OpenWalls Arles 2020: China’s replicas of Western towns

As part of OpenWalls Arles 2020, we are highlighting photographers whose work is connected to this year’s theme: Growth. Find out how your work could be exhibited alongside Les Rencontres d’Arles 2020 at openwalls.co. Over the last fifteen years, a large number of settlements have been built on the outskirts of cities like Shanghai and Hangzhou in China, to replicate Western metropolises. In one, Venice’s canals are reconstructed between Venetian-style buildings. In another, the Eiffel Tower has been reproduced in the centre of a network of mock Parisian streets. Elsewhere, the Western features are more subtle; the odd red phone box or Roman pillar nestled among Mandarin street signs.  “China has this culture of imitating and taking inspiration from different places around the world,” says Cian Oba-Smith. The photographer explored this copycat architecture, for his series Shanzhai. “I wanted to look specifically at Western copies of architecture, which have been imported to China,” he continues.  Shanzhai explores this phenomenon in the wider context of globalisation, and the resulting collision of cultures. When these Western-style settlements …

2019-07-17T13:02:28+01:00

Broken Sleeve 缎绣

Broken Sleeve 缎绣, the title of Shen Wei’s latest body of work, is borrowed from a Chinese story about Emperor Ai and his lover in the Han Dynasty. After waking from a nap, rather than disturb his lover, who was still asleep, the Emperor cuts the sleeves off his precious garments to get out of bed, leaving his lover to rest peacefully. Wei was struck by the simple romantic gesture of the story, but its narrative has nothing to do with the work the photographer created. In fact, when read aloud, the Chinese version of the project’s title – Duàn xiù – sounds like “broken sleeve”, but the symbols themselves translate to “silk fabric”. “The story is like a metaphor,” says Wei. “It injects feeling into the work, like when you touch a piece of smooth silk – it’s a feeling that is hard to describe.” Broken Sleeve 缎绣 is Wei’s latest, ongoing series. Five of the images are on show, alongside work from previous series, in Wei’s first solo exhibition in the UK, opening …

2019-05-07T15:05:57+01:00

BJP Staff