Zhang Xiao. THEY
Our Price: $50.00
Publisher: Jia Zazhi Press (2012)
Category: Limited edition
Details: Hardcover, 52 colour plates, 64 pages, 185 x 260 mm
Languages: English & simplified Chinese
Limited edition of 500 numbered copies
This beautifully produced hardback clothbound volume for the first time presents the debut series by the award-winning photographer Zhang Xiao (b.1981). Completed in 2008, the works in They focus on the everyday lived experience of people in Zhang’s adopted hometown of Chengdu, in western China, one of country’s fastest growing urban and economic centres. Zhang’s particular interest lies in the off-beat human encounters and oddball situations he witnesses during his journeys around the city, from the bizarre and comic to the horrifying and tragic. The impression he gives is of a people and culture struggling between competing realities, between the desire to maintain traditional beliefs and culture and the pressures to adapt to new ways of living; between the old and familiar and the harsh demands of the new.
The photographs in this series are created using a vintage Holga film camera which produces a distinctive form of light distortion known as vignetting, caused by its simple meniscus lens. The effect gives a peculiar dream-like feel to the pictures that amplifies the sometimes surreal events shown.
This collection is the precursor the Zhang’s award-winning photo series, Coastline (2010), in which he further explores the character and textures of life in an environment undergoing massive change. According to the photographer the works here attempt to create a “surreal reality” in which the viewer is invited to watch and re-watch the absurdities, eccentricities and chance encounters that characterise the everyday.
Zhang was born in Yantai in Shandong province and began his career as a press photographer in Chengdu. He has exhibited widely in China and overseas including at the Lianzhou International Photography Festival (2009, 2010), the Pingyao International Photography Festival 2009, and FORMAT International Photography Festival (2011) in the UK. In 2010 he held a one-man show entitled Zhang Xiao Photography at Kunstturm Gallery in Bremen, Germany. His various awards include the Second Hou Dengke Documentary Photography Fund Award (2009), the Three Shadows Photography Award 2010, the MIO Photography Award (2011), Japan, and the HSBC Photography Award (2011), France. He lives in Chengdu.