Hong Hao


Hong Hao is one of the most important Chinese photographers today. Widely exhibited, his work has been collected by important institutions such as The British Museum, UK, MOMA New York, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, National Gallery of Canada, UBS BANK Switzerland, Ullens Foundation, Belgium, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan.
Highly independent, Hong Hao does not form part of any school, but experiments with many different aspects of photography and print, including digital and computer-generated imagery.

Subjects of Hong Hao’s work are general things and images flooded around us. These daily objects are skillfully deconstructed and then rebuilt to show another slightly uncomfortable, but nevertheless beautiful reality. A cynical sense of humor is laid through all of Hong Hao’s works.
His claustrophobic assortments of ordinary objects are individually scanned and stored, then digitally arranged and finally photographically printed. His particular technique allows to bring order to what can often feel like the random chaos of China’s ever expanding consumer society.
These micro universes invite a moment of intimacy and self-reflection on the subjectivity of daily life.

Hong Hao is a highly independent artist, not forming part of any school. His work is innovative, astute and satirical. Much of his work deals with illusion, appearance and preconception. He has spent many years working on a book of maps, called the Scriptures, that reshapes the world according to different forces. For example one map, New World Order, shows the world rearranged geographically and the names of large corporations used to name the countries. Another redistributes land mass according to military and economic strength. Another replaces the names of capital cities with popular expressions or words, yet another shows nuclear arms stationed in selected sites the world over. Hong Hao's intent is to confuse and thus challenge orthodox perceptions. He continues this challenge with great irony and less foreboding in his photographic series Beijing Tour Guide,1999-2000.
One of Hong Hao's best known photographic series, "My Things", opened up a new realm of personal expression for the artist. The photographs are composed of thousands of scanned images of objects from his own life. These commonplace things are arranged by the artist using a computer. There is no traditional photo taken by a camera. The objects are shown life size and some represent over 20 years of accumulation on the part of the artist while others could have been part of that day's lunch. These micro universes, from afar like satellite photos, close up invite a moment of intimacy, a glimpse into the life of the artist, a discovery of contemporary China and a chance to pick out what we would find in our own homes.
My Things No. 6, 2002, appears different from the other works in this series since it refers only to the communist revolution whereas the other works in the series cover a variety of subjects. Hong Hao subtitles My Things No. 6: The Hangover of Revolution in my Home which is revealing of the continued presence of the communist and specifically the Cultural revolutions for the Chinese of Hong Hao's generation. For the West these revolutions are long over but for many Chinese they are still as much a part of their consciousness as the noodles and pliers of My Thing's 4, completed in 2002.


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