Contemporary Chinese Photography – Chen Zhuo & Huang Keyi

Last year the White Rabbit Gallery exhibited a selection of Contemporary Chinese Art at the Samstag Museum in Adelaide.  The White Rabbit Contemporary Chinese Art Collection is one of the world’s largest and most significant collections of contemporary Chinese art.  Founded by Kerr and Judith Neilson, it focuses on works produced after 2000.

Apart from installation, painting and sculpture I was drawn to the photographic work of Chen Zhuo and Huang Keyi.  Based in Beijing, they find digital photography and Photoshop the perfect marriage of media for their exuberant view of the new China.  Taking up to a month to complete each picture, they integrate real and virtual images, duplicating here and erasing there. In the process, they say, “some of our works have become more real than reality, while others convert reality into fiction.”

The China Carnival series (2007) portrays the country as a frenzied fun park where Chairman Mao gives his blessing to roller-coaster riders, romantic love merges happily with shopping, and the sky is too blue to be true. But there’s a grim subtext to these pictures, seen in the identical faces and robotic poses of the crowds, and in the red balloons that resemble spatters of blood. Other photos in the series (which includes a short video) show black limousines surrounded by dead female bodies, and a missile silo in which a line of saluting soldiers recreates a multi-armed kuanyin goddess.

China Carnival No.1, Tiananmen, 2007

China Carnival No.2, Wedding, 2007

Exhibited as c-prints 1.2 x 1.8m they draw the viewer in to consider the detail in each work.  Although there are only 2 of the artist’s work in this collection, more of their work can be viewed from the Yang Gallery site here.

Artist info and images courtesy of the White Rabbit Gallery. Additional information and viewing of the complete collection can be viewed here.

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Filed under Chinese, collections, digital, gallery exhibition, photography

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