Quentin Shih (a.k.a. Shi Xiaofan), born in Tianjin, China in 1975, lives and works as photographer/artist in New York and Beijing. As one of the leading young Chinese photographers, Quentin Shih is well recognized for his individualistic style which utilizes vast sets and dramatic lighting to engage in emotional narratives.
A self-taught photographer, in college he began to shoot photos of local underground musicians and artists. After graduation, he came to Beijing to develop his career as a professional photographer/artist. From 2000 to 2002, he participated in exhibitions in China and America with his fine art photographic works. His works have since been collected by American museums such as the Danforth Museum of Art and the Worchester Art Museum.
During the last few years his interests have moved into commercial and fashion photography. He has worked for top commercial clients and international publications such as Adidas, Microsoft, Sony, Siemens, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and Esquire. His advertising campaigns have won numerous prestigious international advertising and photography awards. In 2007, Quentin was named "Photographer of the Year" by Esquire Magazine (China). He has also been selected by Christian Dior as one of twenty Chinese artists to participate in their exhibition "Dior with Chinese Contemporary Artists".
“I had to shoot the Dior models in Paris,” Quentin says, “so I came up with the idea of putting them into a glass box. The glass divides the room into two worlds – one for Dior models and one for Chinese people – both finding each other mysterious and strange. But they can’t communicate with each other through the glass. So I named the series The Stranger in the Glass Box.”
Lives and works in Hainan.
The Chinese artist Weng Fen explores contemporary political, economic and social topics and uses a unique artistic process to put them in an urban context. He strives to encourage the public to become aware of social phenomena and understand their implications without relying on daily news, official information and mass media.
Art photography on large billboards throughout Slovenia, especially major roads in Maribor, Celje in Ljubljana will challenge our perception. This will change the purpose of the billboards, which constantly, day and night, bombard us with various commercial messages and coerce us into action. Instead of questioning ourselves what they are trying to sell us, we will ask ourselves what the art is trying to tell us. This will continue the eternal argument - what is the message of a piece of art. On the other hand, we can perceive this merely as an outdoor advertisement for art, which is present in a public place, far away from the consecrated galleries and museums, existing as just another manifestation in the sea of postulations of the contemporary consumer society.
Weng Fen was born on the Hainan Island in southern China, one of the first areas in China that opened to the outside world with modernisation and urbanisation following the reforms after 1980. Many works of the artist thus reflect on these changes of new reality in China in comparison with western countries. Fen is one of the most important contemporary artists in China. His work is inspired by urbanization and modernization, consequences of implementation of economic and social policies in the context of financial and social globalization.
Born in 1970 in Henan Province, Yin Zhaoyang is a painter associated with the generation that followed the performance- and installation-oriented works of such artists as Zhang Huan and Xu Bing. Studying at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, Yin developed an esthetic he calls a "collage of ideals"--a preference for powerful imagery based on such iconic presences as Mao, Tiananmen Square, and China's flag. Yin Zhaoyang’s work, while squarely situated within the context of contemporary Chinese painting, directly references the western tradition of the 1960’s and 1970’s – calling to mind the work of Gerhard Richter and Andy Warhol among others. Unlike the genre of political pop, gaudy art, or kitsch, within which the image of Mao is so often positioned, Yin Zhaoyang presents these powerful images within an atmosphere of memory and ambiguous reflection. Working from photographs of the living Mao, both official and unofficial, as well as from images of monuments erected in his honor, Yin Zhaoyang explores the distanced relevance of Mao Zedong to a society that has largely repudiated the policies of the Great Leap forward and the Cultural Revolution.
Among the “post-70s” artists, Yin Zhaoyang pioneered the artistic exploration on the subject of youthful sadness and began for the first time to project the self-imagery and emotional features of this generation onto the canvas. By situating grand narratives in humanistic concerns and reflection, his paintings offer a sentimental epitome of the plight suffered by youth of a particular era. In the 1990s, “Youth Cruelty” paintings by artists represented by Yin Zhaoyang, among others, have added to this category an experimental dimension and enhanced its depth of thinking in terms of narrativity, concept of image and aesthetic taste, constituting a major tendency in avant-garde painting of a decade.
Xiao Hui Wang, born in Tianjin, China, is an artist, mainly working in the field of photography as well as film and media art. She has also made a name for herself as an author. In 1986 she gained a fellowship from Germany. Since then she lives in both Munich and Shanghai.
Xiao Hui Wang’s art works have been presented in various exhibitions - most are solo-shows - in museums and galleries of numerous countries and are collected by private and public institutions alike.
She has been a professor at Tongji University in Shanghai since 2002.
Here she founded the institute “Xiao Hui Wang Art Center” in 2003 and the “Tongji International Media Art Center” (TIMAC) in 2006. She has also been appointed the art-director of the International Automobile City “German City” in Shanghai.
To date, she has published over 40 books and mostly of them are catalogues of photographic works. Her biographic work „My Visual Diary “ is since many years a best selling book and won important prizes in China, like the „Shanghai Excellent Book Award“, „National Literature of Female Authors Award” and the „Bingxin Award“. Since fall 2006 is published in German language by Hoffmann und Campe.
Xiao Hui Wang has received many awards. Her work as a “Cultural Ambassador” led her to receiving the “German-Sino Friendship Award” from the German Government. She was named as one of the top 50 “Chinese who Impact the Future of the World” by the Hong Kong magazine “Phoenix Life”. She was appointed as an honorary member of the BFF (German Association of Freelance Photographers), the “International Star Artist Award” at Art Masters in St. Moritz, “Photographer of the Year” by Shanghai Media Group, “Artist of the Year” by South China Media Group, “Most Valuable Female Artist” by Harper’s Bazaar, just to name a few.
Wang Ningde was born in 1972 in Liaoning province and graduated from the photography department of the Lu Xun Academy of Art in 1995. After graduating, he moved to southern China where he worked for a decade as a photojournalist during the period of China's explosive economic and cultural transformation. Departing from documentary photography, Wang returned to his northern hometown to began his Some Days series, which he worked on between 1999 and 2009. With his striking black and white photographs, the artist has been able to capture the tension between an ever-changing contemporary China and the always-present memory of the Cultural Revolution. As an artist who works not only in traditional photography but also more recently in video and installation artwork, Wang Ningde attempts to decipher and answer the unanswerable, peeling back the layers of memory and the social facade, to probe and expose the more complicated and perhaps disconcerting issues of a personal past or humanity's collective psyche.
Wang Ningde is one of the most famous Chinese contemporary photographers today. Wang Ningde was selected in 2005 to participate in an exhibition which was shown at London's Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), Asia Society and Museum in New York, Smart Museum and Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Seattle Art Museum, The House of World Cultures in Berlin. Wang Ningde photography is silent and peaceful. His signature trademark is figures with their eyes closed, which makes the viewers pause and meditate. Few Chinese artists are able to capture people's attention without shocking them like Wang Ningde.
Shortly after Yang Yankang was awarded the “Prize of Creation” of the 1st“Shafei Photography Award”, I accompanied him to the School of Broadcast and Design of Zhongshan University to give a lecture to the students there. I still remember the enthusiasm from the students when Yang Yankang’s photos appeared on the screen, and those on the subject of misery aroused special interest. In an answer to a question, he talked about his preference for that subject. In his view, the meaning of misery is undoubtedly closely related with faith. Or, in other words, it is because misery exists everywhere that faith is worth eternity. The students might not understand what he said, but when these young people born after 1980 and brought up in a well-off environment have a chance to see misery in reality with their own eyes, and begin to catch the meaning of faith through misery, I think Yang Yankang’s work will reach its destination which is to transcend life through misery.
It is a legend that Yang Yankang entered the realm of photography. I certainly don’t want to tell his success story in a cliche version. In my opinion, what supports Yang’s continuous work is a faith from deep inside, just as he himself has repeated, a special “preference” for misery, a hope to dig into humanity through facing and picturing misery, and to establish a dignity that belongs to each individual, especially to those who live in misfortune and misery for a long time. It is this long-term goal that has pushed him from one misery to another including patients of Hansen’s Disease, wanderers, Shaanxi Catholics, and the grassroots existence of the whole Tibetan area.
Though I have known Yang Yankang for quite a long time, we have never talked about his motivation of becoming a photographer. As I see it, I don’t seem to need to talk with him about such things. The catalogues of his works and long time devotion to photography have told me about the reason and support of his work.
The first time Yang Yankang held up his camera, he joined the realists, which shows that he does not bear the burden of the so-called “aestheticism”. To him, it may be more important to find a pure sense of vision. Therefore, Yang Yankang was interested in the grassroots from the very beginning. However, in my eyes, it was not until one day when he and some of his friends arrived at a village of Hansen’s Disease on the coast of Guangdong Province did he find the “true sense”. What he saw told him what existence is, what life is, and what perseverance is. Obviously, it was the power of reality instead of anything else that sharpened Yang’s lens and enabled his photos to have an exact correspondence with dignity.
What matters is that through Yang’s lens misfortune itself evolves to a terminal: faith. People establish their dignity with faith; otherwise it would be difficult to imagine that they can overcome the fragility of life. They were not defeated because they acquired, through faith, an eternal power that enabled them to abandon misery and reach peace. This power was seen by Yang Yankang in the poverty-struck Northwestern countryside who worked to tell people how stunned a person was by the reality he saw. Afterwards, he went even deeper into this stunning reality, and this time, he went to a remoter spiritual home, Tibet , where he continued to look for soul-experience, dignity, and faith.
There are countless people who go to Tibet to take photos. The fantastic nature and ethnic groups in Tibet may have made it a significant target for photographers all over the world, which means Tibet has become the origin of the “illusion pictures” generated by the world’s exotic spiritual band. The result is that the true Tibet disappeared; the ordinary life of real Tibetans, their misery, their happiness, and their dignity were misportrayed. The more attractive Tibet is, the further it goes from people’s sight. This is a strange case, and it was the fundamental reason for which Yang Yankang and people with the same firm faith were attracted. Yang wants to return a true Tibet , an unavoidable Tibet with iron-like dignity through his work.
This reminds me of the explanation for awarding Yang Yankang on the 1st“Shafei Photography Award” which was a wonderful summary of the whole meaning of Yang’s works and is also helpful for understanding them and their value behind.
I understand that we actually don’t need to say too much about Yang Yankang’s photos. I firmly believe that people can find from his pictures contents that are much more significant than words. Once they realize Yang’s transference between vision and faith, they, like me, will find many comments redundant. We really need not to say anything other than feeling it, because faith, and the visual experience generated from that faith, is beyond words. By then, everyone will agree that only the art works are the most accountable vehicle in which faith can shine.
March 31, 2008
Born in Anshun, Guizhou, China in 1954; now lives in Shenzhen, Guangzhou.
2010, photograph exhibition Tibetan Buddhism at LEICA Art Gallery in Singapore
2008, Catholicism in China's Countryside participated the China Perception seven-people exhibitions in US and European Countries.
2007, Tibetan Buddhism exhibited at Shanghai Art Gallery. 20 photographs collected.
2004, Catholicism in China's Countryside exhibited at China Pingyao International Photography Festival.
2002, Catholicism in China's Countryside exhibited at VISA International Photography Festival in France.
2001, Solo exhibition held at Taiwan Visual Art Center.
1995, participated the exhibition "Bouncing Asia" at Tokyo Photography Art Gallery.
1992, participated the exhibition Beyond City-China's Countryside in Germany.
1988, held solo exhibitions Yang Yankang's Northern Shaanxi in Shenzhen, Shaanxi, and Guizhou, and published collections.
2010, awarded the "Influential Chinese Photographer".
2009, Tibetan Buddhism was awarded Henri Nannen Prize in Germany
2007, received the First Shafei Photograph Award. 50 photographs were collected by Guangdong Art Gallery.
2005, Catholicism in China's Countryside was awarded Henri Nannen Prize in Germany.
2002, received the Best Foreign Photographer Award at the First Nakdong International Photography Festival in Korea.
2002, evaluated as the "Most Influential Chinese Photographer" by Photographers' Companion
2001, evaluated as the "Most Influential Chinese Photographer" by Photographers' Companion
2001, received the Annual Fund Award of the Shandong Yipin International Photography Festival.
During the ten-year Cultural Revolution, 1966 to 1968 is the particular period when the unbelievable violence among the different Red Guards was the most terrific. Tian Taiquan’s photography is originated from the only well-preserved Red Guard graveyard, which lies in a park of Chongqing. It covers 3, 000 square meters (about 4.5 mu) with 113 tombs. Over 500 members of No. 815 Red Guard died in the dust were buried here. Among them, the youngest five persons were only at their ages of 14 while the oldest was 60.
Taiquan Tian was born in 1960 in Chongqing, Sichuan Province, China and was 16 years old when the Cultural Revolution in China officially ended--old enough to remember the horror and devastation that the Chinese people endured. Tian's images thwart the government's efforts to obliterate memories of the Cultural Revolution by selecting it as the subject of his photographic series, Lost. He graduated from Sichuan Fine Art Institution and shortly thereafter entered the Chongqing Contemporary Art Center. Tian's works uses repeated images to show the impact of the rapid development of China. Broken bodies and faded uniforms express the struggle for identification in the dark reality of the relationship between contemporary Chinese culture and history.
The graveyard of the Red Guards of Chongqing, the city where he has been studying, is the base of a symbolic reconstruction of history, in which he is putting so much strength and authority that he turns it to truth.
To talk about this still painful history, Tian Taiquan is using digital photography and the manipulation it permits, since truth is always different from representation.
Sharing with Aldus Huxley of “ brave new world” the belief that “ the memory of each man is its private library”, Tai Taiquan want to go beyond just telling about the past, and, indeed, by bridging past and modern time, he also comments on the contemporary society.
To do so, Tai Taiquan goes beyond the Cultural revolution and get back in time to the mystery and importance of burials in Chinese Antiquity and bring back spirits and ghosts.
He also use ancient techniques when he transposes Qing drawing style to digital image in his series ‘Hide and Seek”
Tai Taiquan express strongly the tension between human being and the world he leaves in, make us share his desire for destruction.Desire which starts with his first art pieces, like in “Totem”, where he shows the dichotomy between sacrifice and injustice, until his most recent pieces from which men has disappeared for ever.
Lu Guang was born in 1961, in Zhejiang Province, China. He has been passionate about photography since he held a camera for the first time, in 1980 when he was a factory worker in his hometown in Yongkang County. Between 1993 and 1995, he took classes at the Fine Arts Academy of Tsinghua University (formerly the Central Academy of Crafts and Fine Arts) in Beijing.
Lu Guang has been documenting the ecological disasters in China resulting from the rapid growth of the economy since 2005, focusing on environmental pollution and the problem of schistosomiasis (bilharzia). Over the last three decades, peoples' living standards have constantly been on the rise in the country. At the same time, industrial pollution has brought serious consequences for public health and for the environment at large.
A freelance photographer since 1993, Lu Guang has developed major documentary projects in China, all at his own initiative, focusing on some of the most significant social, health, and environmental issues facing his country today. His photographic work includes stories on gold diggers, local coal miners, the SARS epidemic, drug addiction along the Sino-Burmese border, Aids villages in Henan Province, the environmental impact of the Qinghai-Tibet railway, industrial pollution and the medical effects of schistosomiasis (bilharzia).
His work on the Aids villages won First Prize in the Contemporary Issues category in the 2004 World Press Photo contest. His picture story on drug addicts in southern Yunnan was exhibited at Visa pour l'Image that same year. In 2005, he became the first photographer from China to be invited by the US Department of State as a visiting scholar.
In 2008, Lu Guang won the Henri Nannan Prize in Photography in Germany; in 2009 he was a recipient of the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund, and in 2010 he won a National Geographic Photography Grant.
In 1994, Liu Zheng began photographing moments in which archetypal Chinese figures are encountered in contemporary incarnations – and often in extreme and unexpected situations. The resulting series, The Chinese, portrays a society wrestling with the contradictions between traditional culture and modernization. The series presents a broad cross section of society including the wealthy, the poor, transsexuals, coal miners, opera performers, as well as waxwork figures in historical museums.
From 1991 to 1997, Zheng worked as a photojournalist for Workers’ Daily, one of China’s most widely distributed newspapers, in a culture where photography was historically linked with political propaganda and Communist ideology rather than a documentary tradition that equated photography with truth. He began work on The Chinese during an explosive period of change and growth in the contemporary art scene in China catalyzed by national policies of reform. Drawing on his background, Zheng utilizes photography as a tool for constructing false reality. The lighting and poses in these square format photographs all appear candid, but in fact, staged tableaux and spontaneous images coexist in the series.
Influenced by both Diane Arbus and August Sander, The Chinese presents the viewer with a personalized study of Chinese culture, concentrating on the dark side of its psychology. Through his photographs Zheng performs an intricate balancing act between harsh reality and romanticism, between engagement and detachment, seeking to reconstitute Chinese history in the process.
Liu Zheng was born in Wuqiang County, Hebei Province, China, in 1969, and grew up in Datong, a mining town in Shanxi Province. He currently lives and works in Beijing. His work has been exhibited extensively abroad, including a one-person exhibition at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, in 2001, and is included in the touring exhibition Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video From China in 2004; Strangers: The First ICP Triennial of Photography and Video in 2003; The Chinese at Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany, in 2004; and the 50 th Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy, in 2003.
Liu Zheng on the state of contemporary Chinese art and the genesis of The Chinese:
I have worked during an exceptional period (from roughly 1990 to the present) of radical and unprecedented change in the Chinese contemporary art scene. These years have also seen a new level of maturity in Chinese art circles. The shock waves of Deng’s policies of opening and reform and their effect on peoples’ ideology is fully reflected in contemporary artworks from the mainland. Photography, like other forms of art, went through a period of hard yet much-needed transition. During these years, the dominant role of news photography in China began to crumble, and the importance of traditional salon photography was also significantly weakened. Humanized and personalized works started to have an impact. It was in this context that, in 1996, I started the private journal New Photo with some of my friends. We all felt that a new era was coming. I was driven by a powerful intellectual force, which slowly evolved into a set of personal beliefs. For many years, it was this set of personal beliefs that helped me overcome numerous difficulties. The Chinese is the fruit of my own personal struggle.