Blindspot Gallery is proud to present “New Framework: Chinese Avant--‐garde Photography 1980s--‐90s” in mid--‐May, a group show featuring the photographic works of Ai Wei Wei, Gu Zheng, Han Lei, Hong Lei, Jiang Zhi, Liu Zheng, Mo Yi, Qiu Zhijie, Zhang Haier, Zhao Liang, Zheng Guogu and RongRong from the 1980s to 1990s.
Curated by artist and curator RongRong, the exhibition will take place at both Blindspot Gallery in Central and Blindspot Annex in Wong Chuk Hang.
From the 1940s to the Cultural Revolution in the 1970s, photography in China was limited to official media and private family portraits.
The revolution of Chinese photography only began in the 1980s with the birth of the New Wave art movement, China’s economic development, and the influx of Western ideology from the country’s opening.
From the 1980s to 1990s, Chinese photography developed through the key stages of “New Documentary” photography, conceptual photography and experimental photography.
This exhibition showcases the major styles and evolving facets of avant--‐garde photography from the period.
The title “New Framework” denotes how these Chinese photographers used the medium to establish a new visual framework outside of the academia and institutions, and to create artworks that resonate with experimentalism.
“New Documentary” photography was one of the axises of Chinese photography in the 1980s.
During this period, documentary photography was no longer limited to documenting reality, as artists transcended the social criticism in early documentary photography and set out to convey their subjectivities.
The black and white photographic works of Gu Zheng, Han Lei, Mo Yi and Zhang Haier fall into this category.
The artists captured the cityscapes or the individual experience in the city on snapshots, as the images embody both documentation and echoes of conceptual photography.
In the mid--‐1990s, experimental art and experimental photography came to prominence.
The photographic works from this period fuse such elements as installation, staged photography, performance to highlight the conceptual and experimental nature of the creation.
The black and white and color images of Ai Wei Wei, Hong Lei, Qiu Zhijie, Jiang Zhi and Zheng Guogu are representative works of this stream.
The establishment of East Village in the 1990s was another key stimulus to experimental photography.
The artists based in the East Village used the photographic medium to record and participate in performance art.
East Village by RongRong is one of the major photographic works from this period.
Curator RongRong voyaged into experimental photography in the 1990s and was an active presence in the East Village, the cradle of Chinese experimental art.
In the mid--‐1990s, RongRong co--‐founded the New Photo magazine, the first independent conceptual photography magazine in China, with Liu Zheng.
New Photo published an eclectic selection of conceptual photographic works by artists who emerged in the 1980s and 1990s, including most of the works featured in this exhibition.
With his wife and artistic partner inri, RongRong founded the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre in 2007 for promoting the development of Chinese photography.
Curator RongRong will be present at the opening reception. Media interviews are welcomed.
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