How to Return: Contemporary Chinese Photography

Exhibition Website

Dec 8 2016 - Feb 12 2017

The use of photography in China as a medium of artistic expression is a fairly recent development, and this exhibition presents the works of contemporary Chinese photographers using the camera to document their responses to the modernization of China and its burgeoning market economy. As China reaches the point of its post-boom years, Exhibition Curator Steven Harris of M97 Gallery in Shanghai, China, suggests a more contemplative period is setting in. With the public having now seen through the veil of glittery consumerism and all it promised, he now sees artists and thinkers seeking the means of how to return to find what is left of their roots. This exhibition includes works by Adou, Huang Xiaoliang, Liang Weizhou, Song Chao, Lou Dan, Lu Yanpeng, and Wang Ningde presenting contemporary images of the Chinese people and environment, reflecting tradition and change, and offering social commentary.

This exhibition is composed of photographers who have all gained international recognition for their work. Of this group Adou and Luo Dan are perhaps most recognized for their work documenting the ethnic minority groups in China; Adou, the Yi from Sichuan Province and Luo Dan, local villagers in Yunnan Province. Song Chao, a coal miner and amateur photographer from Shandong Province, emerged on the international stage after producing an impactful series of portraits of his fellow coal miners during the period 2001-2005. A painter turned photographer, Liang Weizhou depicts the industrialization and post-industrialization of the water towns and countryside around his native Shanghai, while Huang Xiaoliang and Lu Yanpeng present composed and landscape images of delicate and dreamlike quality. Finally, Wang Ningde’s conceptual images explore the tension between modern China and memories of the Cultural Revolution in his iconic series Some Days, for which he achieved international acclaim.

Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website

  • Photography
  • Asian
  • Contemporary
  • Chinese
  • Adou
  • Huang Xiaoliang
  • Liang Weizhou
  • Song Chao
  • Lou Dan
  • Lu Yanpeng
  • Wang Ningde

Exhibition Venues & Dates