Jin Jiangbo : Dialogue with Nature
Starkwhite is pleased to present Jin Jiangbo: Dialogue with
Naturefrom 20 June to 17 September 2011.
Previous to the new body of work featured in Dialogue with
Nature, Jin Jiangbo became known to international contemporary art
audiences through a practice that sought to not only chart China's
growing global influence but also explore the impact of change upon
both the urban landscape and its people.
At a time of immense economic, social and cultural shift, Jin
Jiangbo's photography, installation and multimedia works capture
this momentous transition while also highlighting the incongruities
hidden behind the rise of a burgeoning superpower. Panoramic photos
of abandoned factories, unfinished residences or the debris left by
rapid and often overnight factory closures bear witness to China's
economic miracle, but also the withdrawal and decay that too-hasty
development can inflict. In his photographs the urban landscape
becomes a social imprint of the powerful and spectacular
transformation wrought by and upon contemporary China. It is not
just scenery but social landscape the artist is delivering - vivid,
telling and richly symbolic.
New Zealand audiences were introduced to Jin Jiangbo's work at
New Plymouth's Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in 2009 in China in Four
Seasons,a year-long suite of exhibitions and residencies by Chinese
artists curated by Rhana Devenport.His exhibition featured
large-scale photographic panoramas from series titled Prospects of
theChinese Market, The Great Economic Retreat: The Dongguan Scene,
and Shanghai, Shanghai Engine Plan, all setting China's socialist
economic landscape against a backdrop of economic, social and
In 2010 Jin Jiangbo returned New Zealand as a visiting scholar at
Auckland University's Elam School of Fine Arts. During his
three-month stay he journeyed to the deep south and the far north
capturing images along the way for a new project, which he
describes as "a form of dialogue with nature". In his new series of
photographs Jin Jiangbo looks again to landscape but of a very
different kind. Again we see an allegorical approach to image
making in this new series and also the artist's astute temporality,
but the location has shifted from urban China to the seemingly
untouched and remote landscapes of New Zealand. Offering a series
of views of mountains, lakes, ominous skies and windswept beaches,
sometimes accompanied by panels naming the places and executed in
the artist's hand in the manner of traditional calligraphy, the
artist draws upon iconic New Zealand scenery and offers it back to
the viewer with a plot twist, that of shanshui, an ancient style of
Chinese painting that first rose to prominence in the Liu Song
Frequently we see an artist take something unfamiliar and make
it recognisable, acting as a broker into the mainstream of
unfamiliar ideas, concepts and approaches. Yet what we see in this
new series of images is the inverse - the artist taking something
well known and making it unfamiliar, even slightly alien.
In these images our well known places look strange, unlike what
we know. Jin Jiangbo offers us a reworking of our own landscape
through his own heritage and China's shanshui tradition, giving it
a cultural inflection that allows New Zealanders to look through
new cultural eyes - to look afresh at what we thought we knew.
Presenting the work in the style of a one and a half millennia old
tradition, Jin Jiangbo has made the familiar unfamiliar.
Located in New Zealand on Auckland's Karangahape Road,
Starkwhite presents a programme of artists' projects, solo
exhibitions, independently curated exhibitions and occasional
forays into new music and other interdisciplinary practices.
Starkwhite represents artists from New Zealand, Australia and
the Pacific Rim.
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