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Part II: Politics & the Environment"

Tan Haishan | Jin Jiangbo | Ma Hongjie | Yao Lu | Huang Yan | Shi Guorui | Chi Peng | Liu Jin | Hong Hao
30.04. - 30.05.10

Curated by Bjørn Inge Follevaag and Wang Baoju

In this exhibition, 3,14 continues its focus on contemporary Chinese art, this time with an emphasis on photography.
Part 2 focuses on artists' involvement in relation to the enormous environmental challenges China faces.

“One change a year, one big change in three years, and one unidentifiable transformation in five years.”

The above quote by Chairman Deng Xiaoping sums up the immense power of the Chinese communist party and defines the target for China's future development. In this poetic slogan Deng defines power in a simple statement. With this statement he redefines society. The theme in the first part of "Never Equal Distance to the Moon" is Power. Political and social power-structures, but also the power of a market. Chinese contemporary art is highly influenced by social realism. With clear references to national and international socialist icons - usually deceased -  and with socialist symbols, like critique of the Cultural Revolution as props. Art with social criticism in China has – ironically – become a significant object of investment. Large international institutions have flocked to Beijing and Shanghai to invest in Chinese contemporary art, and the market is overheated. For some Chinese artists there are long waiting-lists, and the painting – in particular – has become an industry.

The social criticism which characterises Chinese contemporary art is hardly controversial any longer. The Chinese system, with its new openness, has succeeded including their artists in a much larger political project - which has nothing to do with social criticism, less to do with art and a lot to do with a market. Where do we find the real social criticism in modern Chinese art? As curators we try to investigate how power is read and understood in different cultural contexts. Do the works speak outside of China? Can they be universally understood?

The choice of digital photography/video as medium for “Never Equal Distance to the Moon” seemed natural. Photography is reproducible in large quantities and far less commercially tainted than painting or sculpture. Photography also has a long documentary tradition and provides better access to the story-line.  Photo and video venture beyond the market with a more liberal – and personal - approach to the issues in question. The fact that these works are aesthetically pleasing is not coincidental. The fact that there is an immediate sense of aesthetics in the works allows the viewer to identify with the work, and perhaps also with the exhibition’s theme. We were eager to see how these works would be read and understood in different cultural contexts. The review from the Danish newspaper Politiken suggests that the works communicate across cultural and social barriers. This met one of our targets for the project.”


– Bjørn Inge Follevaag / Wang Baoju



- One Pig

- Left Hand and Right Hand
Video, 2009

Tan Haishan (b. 1971) in Guigang, Guangxi. Lives in Beijing. Graduated from the Sculpture Department of Guangxi Artistic College. In his work “One Pig” Tan Haishan has photographed the slaughter of a pig in a Chinese village. As the meat from the pig is distributed within the community Tan photographs each of the 29 families this single pig feeds. In this way he refers to the collective responsibility in Chinese tradition as well as advocating sustainability. In stark contrast to the egotistical and individualist attitude which is growing fast in Chinese contemporary culture.


- The Great Economic Retreat Series: Canteen of a foreign capital television manufacturing enterprise

Photograph, 75x300cm, 2008

Jin Jiangbo (b. 1972) in the Zhejiang province, he is Director of Digital Arts at Shanghai University and based in Shanghai and Bejjing.

Jin states: "My process enters a space of expressionless aesthetic research. Within the long process of history, things and people shuttle through, and as time passes they gradually disappear and are lost, leaving only the buildings and spaces, as 'witnesses to history'."
Jin debates the last ten to fifteen years of China’s growth to economic superpower. The deserted factory buildings not only symbolise growth and progress, but may also be seen as an abandoned temple which the followers have left – investors and industrialists taking anything of value with them and sending the congregation back home.



- Belongings 03
Photograph, 170x140cm, 2008

- Belongings K-200-10
Photograph, 170x140cm, 2008

Ma Hongjie (b. 1963) is from Luoyang in the Henan province. He is self taught. Ma discusses disempowerment, materialism, poverty, the individual and society in his work. Whether the people outside of their houses are moving to improved conditions in nearby high-rises, or being moved to make way for progress, remains unclear – but the Three Gorges Dam looms auspiciously in the background. 




- New Mountain and Water Series: Fishing boat s berthed by Mount Yu
C-Print, 120 x 300cm, 2008

- New Mountain and Water Series: Snow cleansed riverside village

C-Print, 120 x 120cm, 2007

- New Mountain and Water Series: Mountains and streams through autumn mist

C-Print, 120 x 120cm, 2007

- New Mountain and Water Series: Passing spring at the ancient dock

C-Print, 120 x 120cm, 2006

Yao Lu (b. 1973) in Beijing. He teaches photography at the CAA. Yao photographs garbage heaps covered in green plastic mesh. By manipulating the images he converts them to seemingly serene classical Chinese landscapes. Yao moves between painting and photography in his work – between the past and the present – discussing the disastrous damages the economic development and lack of awareness has produced.



- Four Seasons
Photograph, 120 x 150cm, 2008


Huang Yan (b. 1966) in the Jilin province. Huang Yan works with the essence of Chinese painting – the embodied landscape. The body is ridden with taboos in Chinese culture, and many artists have chosen to work with their physical body to express attitudes and opinions. Huang demonstrates the importance of surface and lets the painted landscape on a person’s body become a metaphor for control.





- Beijing New CBD
Gelatin Silver Print, 118.6x340cm, 2007

Shi Guorui (b. 1964) from Shanxi, China, graduated from Nanjing Normal University, majoring in photography. Working with camera obscura, he works on large scale projects producing huge photographs. His projects take months of planning. Shi Guorui's Himalayas series captures the haunting majesty of the world's tallest peak in excellent detail. His images of China’s cities whether it be Beijing or Shanghai requires huge structures built on-site to produce the image.



- I´m a little scared, the sky is getting gloomy
Photograph, 120 x 249cm, 2008

Chi Peng (b. 1981) comes from Yantai in the Shandong province and has a degree in photography from the CAA (Central Academy of Art). He is well known for his superior technical skills in photography and image editing. By blending fact with fiction he creates new realities, often staging himself as the protagonist and commenting on contemporary Chinese culture. Tradition and modernity blend formally as well as thematically to create a parallel universe between reality and cyberspace.



- Great Scene
Photograph, 400x57cm, 2007

Liu Jin (b. 1971) in Jiangsu Province. Graduated from the Department of Arts and Crafts of Jiangsu Xuzhou Engineering Institute. Liu Jin involves the spectator in the dilemmas of rapid growth and development in China. In his series City Construction he applies the overt image of an angel hanging from instruments of construction. Similar to in his Paradise lost series, he criticizes the rapid and unsustainable growth and megalomania of contemporary Chinese culture – voicing the vulnerability of the individual in the face of change.



- Bottom No.3

- Bottom No.6
Digital print,120x205cm, 2009

Hong Hao (b. 1965) is born and raised in Beijing and educated at the CAA (Central Academy of Fine Arts). After primarily using printmaking techniques the artist began working with photography in 1999. Hong creates universes of objets trouvés – very often inconsequential leftovers from our everyday lives. He documents memories and investigates present and past history – thereby documenting a collective social memory. Collaged into mesmerizingly detailed, formally and chromatically sophisticated compositions, these images of Hong’s “things” are portraits of the artist himself and of the communist-capitalist society he so effectively critiques in all of his work.


The exhibiton received funds from Arts Council Norway and Fritt Ord.

In collaboration with Faurschou Foundation Copenhagen.

Exhibition catalog -->


Part I: Power

Qu Yan | Bai Yiluo | Li Wei | Wang Qingsong | Meng Jin | Liu Xinhua | MuChen+Zhao Yinong
12.03. - 25.04.2010

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